Japan Radio Completes Installation of Fleet Operation Center for Support of Autonomous Ships from Shore - DFFAS Project under Autonomous Ship Development Program Led by Nippon Foundation -


Japan Radio Co. (JRC) completed installation of a fleet operation center to support autonomous ships from shore as a part of the DFFAS (Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ship) Project. This work was performed as a member of the "Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration of Autonomous Ships" within the autonomous ship project MEGURI 2040 led by the Nippon Foundation. Under the support of the Nippon Foundation, the DFFAS Project aims to successfully develop and demonstrate the world's first autonomous ships in heavy marine traffic area for realizing full commercial use by 2025.


Fleet operation center (FOC) run by JRC

A fleet operation center is a comprehensive shore-based facility encompassing the functions required for autonomous ships including shore-based monitoring, diagnosis, and other operations for providing support functions and enabling remote operation in case of emergency.
In the DFFAS project, JRC is conducting development of a fleet support system that complements the remote autonomous operations based on ship and shore information. In addition to the fleet support system, JRC has integrated all the shore-side systems and equipment necessary for autonomous operation and remote control and has now completed the installation.

Functions of the fleet support system

The fleet support system will have two shore operators, the captain, and the chief engineer. The system gathers all the information necessary for navigation, including the ship's operational information, large ship information obtained from J-Marine Cloud, and weather information, to plan the optimal route according to requirements such as the earliest arrival route, the on-time arrival route, and the least fuel route. During the navigation, the ship's operational status is monitored from shore, and any changes in the status are shared to the shore operators by voice or text messages.
Also, multiple cameras are installed in the room to monitor the shore operators if they are ready for remote monitoring. In addition, JRC is analyzing the collected information and developing a variety of contents that support mid- to long-term navigation.

Autonomous ship's control

Autonomous navigation is determined by the following four statuses, and each status is visually notified and controlled using LED light bar on the fleet support system console*1 and the ship remote control console*2.
 1)Operating normally
 2)Operating assuming remote and immediate response by shore operators
 3)Being remote operated by shore operators to maintain navigation
 4)Autonomous operation system is unable to continue navigation

Control rights based on these statuses will be given to either the autonomous ship or the shore operator. In situations (2) and (3), the captain will move to the ship remote control console and then remotely support and operate the ship.

JRC will continue to work toward the success of the demonstration tests for autonomous ships in the DFFAS project and contribute to MEGURI 2040's goals of reducing maritime accidents, alleviating the shortage of ship crew members, improving cargo handling and transportation efficiency and providing a new means of transportation for remote islands and the capital area.

Fleet support system console
*1 Fleet support system console
Ship remote control console
*2 Ship remote control console
(Images: by courtesy of DFFAS Consortium)

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For further information : please contact

Japan Radio Co.,Ltd.
Marine Business Department
TEL : +81-3-5534-1115