UIPA, the South Korean Information and Communication Technology Promotion Agency has awarded Kongsberg Digital the contract to supply a fully featured bridge simulator for a new, state-of-the-art autonomous ship research facility in Ulsan, South Korea. The Korean government has committed to invest 130 billion won (USD 110 million) in the project over the next 3 years, with a goal of starting operations in 2023. The simulation contract is being delivered through maritime ICT convergence specialists eMARINE Global.
The simulator will be used primarily for research and development of navigational equipment and display systems and will facilitate testing of autonomous vessel technologies in a safe virtual environment before trials in a designated autonomous ship test bed. Based on Kongsberg Digital’s industry-proven K-Sim Navigation platform, the new system will deliver high-fidelity visual and physical simulation, a radar signal interface function and software for navigation analysis, equipment test and evaluation.
The high-fidelity simulator is due for installation in November this year. The delivery will in addition to K-Sim Navigation, include development of new software to integrate external inputs such as GPS and wave sensors, as well as an API interface to permit simulation data transfer to other systems. Kongsberg Digital will also supply an area database for the virtual “Ulsan Port” and a modelling tool enabling new simulator vessel models to be built from the ground up.
Kongsberg Digital’s senior vice president Tone-Merete Hansen says, “Kongsberg Digital’s suite of simulators have a huge potential in the maritime research and development sector. The K-Sim technology platform, with its physics-based modelling, incredibly realistic vessel behaviour and virtual environment, enables testing and verification of operations to a very high level. Our simulation technology will support UIPA to test, verify and shape innovations in the field of autonomy. Other international autonomy projects have recently selected our simulation technology to carry out advanced autonomy studies, so we see a new market for advanced simulation growing.”
Kongsberg Digital is recognised as a technology-leader in simulators for crew training and a driving force behind the growing use of digital twins in maritime applications. The company’s flexibility to deliver a customised service including research-focused software development for the new autonomous ship research facility in Ulsan reflects its central role as an enabler of new safety and performance enhancing technologies for both manned and unmanned vessel operations.