Largest cargo ship test field work begins
China has begun constructing the world's largest unmanned cargo ship test field in the Wanshan Marine Area in the South China Sea off the coast of the southern city of Zhuhai.
The test field, also the first of its kind in Asia, will include an area for debugging work and another for performance tests, will be the largest of its kind in the world, covering a sea area of 771.6 square kilometers, Science Daily reported on Monday.
As a comprehensive test field, it will contribute to the development of China's unmanned ship industry and establish standards for the industry in China, the report said.
"The test field will be built in the South China Sea because the region has well-developed related industries, talent and good geographic conditions." Zhang Yunfei, founder of Oceanalpha company that has participated in the construction of the test field, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Zhang said that "it will have several levels, including fields for virtual, model and actual vessels."
"The biggest advantage of China's test field is not as the largest in the world, but because of leading technologies," he said.
According to the report, infrastructure and support facilities, such as those for network communication, navigation radars, optoelectronic devices, and automatic mooring systems will be built for various tests.
Zhang said military- and civilian-used unmanned vessels have been used many ways in other countries, and the need for unmanned vessels in shipping is more urgent.
"The final goal is to build a global leading unmanned vessel center for production, study and research."
The world's first unmanned cargo ship, Jindouyun, is also being designed and will be tested in the test field in 2019, Zhang said. The vessel will be all battery-powered and could sail 500 nautical miles with one charge.
In December 2017, China unveiled the world's fastest domestically-developed unmanned surface vehicle (USV), the Tianxing-1, at the fifth China Marine Economy Expo in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, Science Daily reported.
Apart from Jindouyun, one of China's unmanned light boats will go to Antarctic this year, Zhang said.