JRC Starts Joint R&D on Integrated Navigation Support System Using AI and Other Cutting-edge Technologies - Initiative for Expediting Implementation of Autonomous Ships -


As a part of an initiative to expedite implementation of autonomous ships, Japan Radio Co., Ltd. (JRC) have entered into a joint R&D agreement with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. ("K" LINE) and YDK Technologies Co., Ltd. (YDK) to develop an integrated navigation support system that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge technologies for assisting maneuvering in making safety maneuvering decisions.

Description of Joint R&D

This joint R&D project aims to develop a system that will prevent serious maritime accidents such as ship collisions and groundings and that will lead to autonomous ship operations by combining JRC marine equipment's knowledge and advanced radio technology developed over many years, "K" LINE's maneuvering knowledge and experience in safe ship operation, and YDK's steering and propulsion control technology.

This system is expected to meet Degree 1*1 of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) standard for development stages of autonomous ships and is an initiative to follow the global trend of the development of autonomous ships and further expedite the project.

An overview of this initiative and the joint R&D system is shown below. The aim is to develop a comprehensive system that will further improve the safety of ship operations by utilizing the knowledge and technologies of the joint R&D partners in each process from situation awareness by the seafarer to maneuvering control of the ship, combined with the most advanced technologies.

Overview of Initiative and Joint R&D System
Overview of Initiative and Joint R&D System

Starting from April 2023, demonstration at sea will be conducted on various ship types and routes, both domestic and international, with the aim of full-scale commercial implementation in the future. JRC, "K" LINE, and YDK will continue to develop the system to further improve the safety of ship operations by providing more advanced support and reducing the burden on seafarers and to assist in implementing autonomous ships.

Aim of JRC

As a part of its initiative to realize an autonomous ship, for the land-based systems, JRC has developed a Fleet Operation Center(FOC) through its participation in the Nippon Foundation's "the Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration of Unmanned Ships" and is proceeding with development and performance testing of functions implemented in FOC. For the onboard systems, on the other hand, this joint R&D will accelerate development of the technologies necessary for the implementation of autonomous ships, such as image recognition by AI, sensor fusion, risk analysis, safe routes generation including collision avoidance, and digital twin*2 technology to reproduce situation around the ship.

JRC aims to be a total system integrator of autonomous ship system covering both ship onboard and shore in the future autonomous ship market. Then, JRC will contribute to safety ship operation, reducing the workload of seafarers and GHG emissions reduction by providing a system solution that can determine the optimum route and grasp the situation around the ship and the various risks with our navigation equipment.

*1 IMO's Development Level for Automated Ships (Degree 1)
Degree 1 is defined as a state where part of the ship's operation is automated, but the crew is still on board. This requires that human operators be ready and able to take control if any unforeseen circumstances arise.

*2 digital twin : 
A technology that digitally reproduces the system itself, its state and environment around it, etc.. In this joint R&D, the situation around the ship will be reproduced by computer graphics.

For further information : please contact

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