Suzaku, the first autonomous cargo ship


After about 40 hours of travel, the new cargo ship ”Suzaku” fulfilled its objective by traveling 790 kilometers from Tokyo Bay to the port of Tsumatsusaka in Ise Bay; and although under normal circumstances this would have been just another trip, what made it different is that this time it was a totally autonomous conveyance. That is, without any human intervention. 

In recent years, we have read or heard countless news about autonomous vehicles, but what about autonomous vessels like the Suzaku and how can these be a real benefit in the face of current logistics processes? 

Orca AI: the technology behind this cargo ship

The “Suzaku” is another great example of how far we can go thanks to a good implementation of artificial intelligence in means of transport that require a high level of commitment in aspects such as safety and efficiency to perform an accurate journey that guarantees the delivery of containers in a relatively fast time without the need for any human intervention. 

Characteristics of the vessel Suzaku

In addition to its advanced IA, this cargo ship also boasts key features or that are well worth mentioning:

  1. Ability to perform more than 107 maneuvers in order to avoid collisions with other ships or nearby structures.
  1. Visual recognition capable of detailing the nautical miles of each ship in real time.
  2. Categorization of the elements on the screen in red to discern which ones represent a high risk of collision at that precise moment.
  3. Cameras that in addition to offering a 360-degree angle view, also provide a night mode capable of highlighting both static and moving objects.

A promising future not only for logistics in general, but also for Japan

For a country like Japan, where estimates indicate that its population will continue to age alarmingly over the next few years, autonomous modes of transport represent a promising future and in some ways even a relief in terms of maintaining itself as a nation with acceptable export levels in which such a high workforce is not required. Although, beyond this, cargo ships such as the Suzaku have enormous potential in terms of safety and obtaining excellent results in logistical tasks.

Finally, it is worthwhile to emphasize the safety aspect, since IA-controlled ships such as this  have may considerably reduce the risk of maritime accidents due to human error (75-96%), so it would not be surprising to see how this technology continues to improve and expand in other countries. 

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