South Korea Invests in AI for Shipyards
The South Korean government is planning to build smart shipyards equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) technology in a move expected to boost the cost competitiveness of the nation's small to mid-size shipbuilders.
BusinessKorea reports that the government will begin a feasibility study this year. Around $360 million will be spent on the Korean Smart Shipyard (K-Yard) project which aims to first develop a smart shipyard simulation model and set up a virtual reality-based production platform to track production flow using the internet of things. Two shipyards are expected to take part in testing between 2020 and 2025. The production models developed would then be rolled out across other yards.
The government is specifically planning to win back the mid-size bulk and tanker markets from China, reports BusinessKorea, and hopes to increase productivity by 20 percent and lower production costs by 10 percent with the project. South Korea accounted for 43 percent of global shipbuilding orders this year, ahead of China, but smaller and mid-size yards still tend to lose out. They only won orders for four tankers in the first quarter of this year, and their share of the global market dropped from 10 percent in 2014 to four percent in 2016.