CHANGWON, Nov. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has unveiled self-sailing boats, which could be used to crack down on illegal fishing in future without putting the South Korean Coast Guard in danger.
The unmanned smart boats developed by the oceans ministry and the Korea Research Institute of Ship and Ocean Engineering were first put on display on Thursday at the Namhae location of the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology.
The 27 billion won smart ship project began in 2011 as an initiative of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries with the goal of developing a multi-purpose smart self-sailing boat using South Korean technology.
Named after Aragon, which means ‘dragon of the sea’, Aragon-2 is a follow-up model to Aragon-1 which was released back in 2014.
The new Aragon is much lighter and faster, according to the oceans ministry, and can sail at a speed of up to 79 kilometers per hour while also being capable of withstanding waves as tall as 2.5 meters.
During the showcase, Aragon-2 sailed on its own across coastal waters around Namhae for some 50 minutes, after departing from the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology’s research center, showing off its coastal surveillance capabilities.
Aragon-2 was seen evading other ships nearby by autonomously changing direction while on the move, using detection devices such as radars and cameras.
The smart ship also issued warnings and made announcements to ships that were identified as illegal fishing boats, while reporting on the situation on the spot to the control center.
During the development process, which was led by the Korea Research Institute of Ship and Ocean Engineering, a number of research institutes and private firms put their heads together to create a well-rounded self-sailing boat that can detect and avoid obstacles, as well as conduct marine surveillance and observation missions.
In addition, Aragon-2 is expected to assist with rescue missions when the program is complete, as it will be able to reach areas that would otherwise put human lives at risk, also economizing maintenance expenses.
Based on the progress of self-sailing technology, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries is reportedly considering developing unmanned surface vehicles with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration for the military.
“Aragon-2 is expected to serve multiple purposes in the public sector including illegal fishing surveillance, marine environment research, and rescue missions,” said Cho Seung-hwan, a senior official at the oceans ministry.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)