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Named as winner of international competition for development of autonomous ship algorithm

Various situations beyond human control occur at sea. Advanced autonomous ship technology is needed to respond effectively to unexpected circumstances. Prof. Kim, Jinwhan’s team developed various algorithms for autonomous operation of various maritime systems, including surface ships and underwater vehicles. The feasibility of the algorithms was verified through simulations and field tests, so as to evaluate the practical utility and performance of the algorithm in the real world. The team is conducting research to develop core technology for practical algorithms and to establish related systems.

First among 17 teams in 2019 Virtual RobotX Competition

The team’s research focus was to develop an autonomous algorithm for ship operations in the maritime environment. This algorithm helped the graduate students of the Mobile Robotics & Intelligence Laboratory emerge as the winner of the 2019 Virtual RobotX Competition, organized by ONR. U.S. Office of Naval Research. Algorithm submissions were accepted for three months beginning last September. Among the 17 teams from nine countries such as the United States, China, Japan, Australia and Singapore, KAIST was the only participating team from Korea.

The 2019 Virtual RobotX Competition applies various virtual scenarios to algorithms submitted by participating teams, and chooses winners based on the results of six missions. The systems had to maintain their position and direction in the presence of wind and waves, move rapidly to a designated destination, identify and characterize objects, move to the destination while avoiding obstacles and passing through gates, and execute a safe docking maneuver before exiting. The KAIST team submitted algorithms over three sessions, and showed outstanding performance in all six tasks. It was named the overall winner among 17 teams, ranking first in two tasks and second in two tasks.

Development of various algorithms for stable operation of autonomous ships
The proposed algorithm can be applied not only to most small unmanned ships, but also large merchant ships. Extensive research is being conducted on autonomous ship technology, which is essential for Korea to maintain its leading status in the shipbuilding and marine industry. A national project on autonomous ship technology will be launched in 2020 following a preliminary feasibility study, and this is expected to facilitate applications to real-world systems.

Prof. Kim, Jinwhan
2019 KI Annual Report

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