Press Release

Bureau Veritas delivers an AiP for Fully Autonomous Ship Framework

Mar. 18 2022

Bureau Veritas (BV), a world leader in testing, inspection, and certification, has delivered an Approval in Principle to NYK and its group companies MTI Co., Ltd. and Japan Maritime Science Inc. for a fully autonomous ship framework that is currently being developed under the name of "APExS-auto."

The Bureau Veritas approval has been delivered to the Joint Technological Development Programme for the Demonstration of Fully Autonomous Ships, under the fully autonomous ship project "MEGURI2040".

Administrated by the Nippon Foundation the project aims to address social issues such as labor shortages and the aging of domestic coastal seafarers, as well as marine accidents caused by human error. The DFFAS (Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ship) consortium, comprising 30 Japanese companies including NYK and NYK Group companies Japan Marine Science Inc. and MTI Co., Ltd., is participating in the project and has proceeded with technological development with the aim of social implementation of fully autonomous ships.

BV reviewed the safety of the framework and certified the concept design. This was the first time for a fully autonomous ship framework to be approved in Japan.

Senior Vice President Technical & Operations at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore

Senior Vice President Technical & Operations

Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore

Fully autonomous ships are going to play a role in the future of shipping. However they need to be safe and reliable. That’s where Class has a key role to play. It has been a real honour to collaborate with NYK on this very innovative project.

APExS-auto is an acronym for “Action Planning and Execution System for Full Autonomous.” The autonomous ship framework  for the realization of a crewed autonomous ship (development code "APExS") includes high-speed computer-based information processing technology and risk analyses that support crew members' situational awareness and the decision-making (action planning) necessary for maneuvering. In fact, the computer (machine) will execute maneuvering operations only after receiving crew approval. APExS-auto positions the computer (machine) as an active supporter of the crew and gives the functions more sophistication.


In this initiative, APExS-auto was developed as an expansion of APExS developed by the NYK Group into the fully autonomous ships. In fact, APExS-auto contributed significantly to the success of the fully autonomous ship demonstration conducted by the DFFAS consortium from February 26 to March 1.

Conventional method

The NYK Group will continue to make full use of APExS-auto to develop autonomous ship technology that contributes to advancing safe operations by further deepening cooperation and collaboration with domestic and overseas partners.