In December, 2019, China’s first unmanned cargo ship completed its test voyage , marking a significant milestone in autonomous shipping. The ship, Jin Dou Yun 0 Hao, successfully delivered cargo from Dong Ao Island in Zhuhuai to the No. 1 pier of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
The maiden delivery comes after the ship had already completed a number of remote control and autonomous navigation tests. Yunzhou Tech began developing the ship in 2017 in collaboration with Wuhan University of Technology and the China Classification Society, and delivered it in November 2019.
Measuring about 42.2 feet long and 12.5 feet wide and designed to travel at 8 knots, the vessel is operated by automatic navigation technology and remote control, and is equipped with an electrified power plant. The ship can save shipbuilders more than 20% on construction costs and 20% on operational costs, reduce fuel consumption by 15%, and significantly reduce emissions, according to developer Yunzhou Tech.
Zhuhai is now developing a test ground for autonomous ships as part of its plan to develop an industrial platform in the new sector. The Wanshan Marine Test Field, which will cover a total area of 771.6 sq km, will become the largest autonomous ship test ground in the world. It will allow the testing of technologies such as autonomous steering and obstacle avoidance.