Test field to gauge un­manned ships

China Daily - - CHINA - By QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou qi­uquan­lin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Con­struc­tion of a test field for un­manned cargo ships — the first of its kind in Asia — has be­gun in Zhuhai, a coastal city in Guang­dong prov­ince.

The test field, lo­cated in the Wan­shan Marine Area in Zhuhai, will cover 771.6 square kilo­me­ters, of which the first phase of 21.6 sq km will be used for de­bug­ging work and the sec­ond phase for per­for­mance tests, ac­cord­ing to the Zhuhai gov­ern­ment.

The test field is a joint pro­gram be­tween the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, China Clas­si­fi­ca­tion So­ci­ety, Wuhan Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, and Oceanal­pha — a Zhuhai-based com­pany fo­cused on un­manned sur­face ves­sel de­vel­op­ment.

In­fra­struc­ture and sup­port fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing for net­work com­mu­ni­ca­tion, nav­i­ga­tion radar, op­to­elec­tronic de­vices and au­to­matic moor­ing sys­tems will be built.

As a com­pre­hen­sive test field, it will con­tribute to the de­vel­op­ment of China’s un­manned ship in­dus­try and es­tab­lish na­tion­wide stan­dards for the in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Lu Xiaofeng, vice-mayor of Zhuhai.

“Con­struc­tion of the test field will help push for­ward the de­vel­op­ment, test­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of un­manned cargo ships and other re­lated in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies in the in­dus­try,” said Lu.

In De­cem­ber, China un­veiled the world’s fastest un­manned wa­ter­borne sur­face ve­hi­cle, the Tianx­ing-1, at the fifth China Marine Econ­omy Expo in Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong, ac­cord­ing to Sci­ence Daily.

With a top speed over 50 knots, the ve­hi­cle is an elec­tric-gaso­line hy­brid of 12.2 me­ters long, with a dis­place­ment of 7.5 met­ric tons.

As one of the lead­ing pro­duc­ers of un­manned cargo ships, Oceanal­pha is also work­ing with sev­eral part­ners to pro­duce new en­ergy un­manned cargo ships.

The Jin­douyun, or “cloud­borne,” a small un­manned sur­face ve­hi­cle, will be tested in the field by the end of this year. The ve­hi­cles will be put into com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion in 2019, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

“The test field will help fa­cil­i­tate use of new en­ergy and ar­ti­fi­cial tech­nolo­gies in the cargo ship­ping in­dus­try,” said Lu.


A con­cept photo of an un­manned cargo ship de­vel­oped by Oceanal­pha, a Zhuhai-based com­pany.

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