Top Page > Press Release 2022 > MOL and Ferry Sunflower Launch Trial Use of 'Berthing Aid System' for Ships with Eye toward Commercialization

MOL and Ferry Sunflower Launch Trial Use of 'Berthing Aid System' for Ships with Eye toward Commercialization

September 16, 2022

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto; Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo) and Ferry Sunflower Limited (President: Mitsujiro Akasaka; Headquarters: Oita-shi, Oita Prefecture) today announced their intent to conduct a trial use of the "Berthing Aid System," which is under development by Furuno Electric Co., Ltd. (President: Yukio Furuno; Headquarters: Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture) using the large-scale car ferry Sunflower Gold, which plies the Kobe-Oita route.

The "Berthing Aid System" measures the exact distance and angle between the hull and the pier, based on information obtained from LiDAR and satellite compasses, and displays the results on multiple screens. This system was developed to improve the safety and efficiency of berthing operations, which were conventionally conducted visually by crewmembers based on their experience.

In this trial use, MOL and Ferry Sunflower will verify the usability of the system, such as the ease with which crewmembers can understand the displayed measurement results when looking at the system screen. The two MOL Group companies also aim to support developing and commercialize a system considering safety from crewmembers' point of view by exchanging opinions with the ferry captain and crewmembers.

The MOL Group continually develops and applies technologies and systems that reduce the risk of accidents and enhances vessel operating safety not only within the group but also throughout the ocean shipping industry.

Sunflower Gold

Trial period: September 2022 - March 2023
Trial vessel: Sunflower Gold (Kobe - Oita)
Gross tonnage: 11,178 tons/LOA: 165.5m/Breadth: 27.0m
Passenger capacity: 716/Vehicle capacity: 147 trucks, 75 passenger cars

About the 'Berthing Aid System'

For details, please refer to the following website:
Towards the digital transformation of ships. Full Head > Autonomous Navigation

MOL also conducted a sea trial of "Berthing Aid System" in the MOL-led "sea trial of autonomous sailing on a commercial containership and car ferry" (January-February 2022) (*), as part of the unmanned ship project MEGURI2040, backed by The Nippon Foundation. In this trial, based on the results obtained from the "MEGURI2040" demonstration, the two MOL Group companies are simplifying the system installation on the vessel to improve the usability of the system in advance of its commercial implementation.

January 25, 2022: World's First Successful Sea Trial of Autonomous Sailing on a Commercial Ship Voyage
February 7, 2022: MOL and Partners Set World Records for Time and Distance in Autonomous Navigation with Sea Trial Using Large Commercial Car Ferry - Follows Successful Trial of Coastal Containership in Autonomous Sailing -


[MOL Group 5 Sustainability Issues]
The MOL Group will contribute to realizing a sustainable society by promoting responses to sustainability issues, which are identified as social issues that must be addressed as priorities through its business.
We anticipate this initiative to contribute especially to the realization of "Safety & Value -Provide added value through safe transportation and our social infrastructure business-" and "Innovation -Innovation for development in marine technology-."

In April 2022, MOL established a new technology slogan, "One mile ahead," as a banner to lead the industry as pioneer in the development of technological innovations for the ocean shipping business. MOL Group strives to become a leader in technological innovation not only for "ships", but also, in a broader sense, for the "sea".