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SK Telecom launches 5G autonomous platform for vessels

SK Telecom announced Tuesday the mobile carrier has established an autonomous sailing platform for vessels based on its 5G network in collaboration with Samsung Heavy Industries, expanding the concept of autonomous operation to ships.

The telecom company worked with Samsung’s shipbuilding unit at its shipyard in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province.

Using the SKT 5G network established at the shipyard, the mobile carrier tested its autonomous and remote control platform connected to 3.3-meter-long prototype vessel Easy Go in waters about 250 kilometers from the shipyard.

SKT has combined parts of its 5G lidar system, T Live Caster solution and cloud internet of things solution into the vessel communications system. 

An engineer in Daejeon uses a 5G platform created by SK Telecom to remotely control a model vessel 250 kilometers away at Samsung Heavy’s shipyard in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province on Tuesday. (SK Telecom)
An engineer in Daejeon uses a 5G platform created by SK Telecom to remotely control a model vessel 250 kilometers away at Samsung Heavy’s shipyard in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province on Tuesday. (SK Telecom)

The unmanned ship successfully recognized obstacles and reached a destination that was remotely set by the platform installed at the shipyard.

The platform would help not only remotely control offshore vessels, but also improve the safety of ships when sailing narrow waterways or docking, according to the shipbuilder’s officials.

The collaboration between SKT and the Samsung shipbuilding unit marks the first case of the business-to-business application of the 5G network in the shipbuilding industry.

Samsung Heavy plans to advance the company’s shipbuilding capabilities with the backing of 5G telecom technologies that will enable employees to improve work efficiency and safety.

In March, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding on building 5G-based smart shipyards.

“SKT will be leading the creation of a 5G smart shipyard by using 5G, AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT technologies,” said Choi Il-gyu, head of the business-to-business unit at SK Telecom.

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)
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