June 04, 2020

Breaking dependence, Chinese ships are expected to use "domestic brains"

On the Huangpu River in 2010, there will be a special cruise ship that not only has a Chinese-made hull, but also a Chinese-designed “neural system” – recently, CSIC’s seventh, fourth, and Together with Shanghai Ship Transportation Science Research Institute, 711 developed the first domestic ship automation embedded system and developed a set of corresponding standards, which broke the situation that China's ships have always relied on the “outside brain”.

"Eyes" look at electronic charts, "ears" to listen to satellite navigation, modern ships rely on the developed "neural system" - ship automation system, can achieve automatic driving to and from the deep ocean. At the seventh and fourth places, the reporter saw this "mind-level" system capable of commanding two or three hundred meters of steel ships. The simple three computers are like the brain, with the "spinal cord" connected behind them - an open high-speed network, and the network extends a "neural" to the main power, electricity, navigation, communication, loading and unloading, etc." "Fighting limbs" and "black box" to record the navigation of the ship.

For a long time, foreign shipbuilding giants have firmly controlled this core technology with patents and standards, and must not be allowed by Chinese shipping companies. So far, most of the ships in China are “banana boats” with “yellow skin” (made in China) and “white inner heart” (automation systems and high-tech marine equipment are almost completely dependent on imports).

Although the ship automation system is still a little young, its birth marks that China's ship automation has its own "top design". However, in the view of Tang Shiqing, the deputy chief engineer of the 7th and 4th, it is only the first step to get rid of the "banana". “Although we have designed a marine automation embedded system based on the embedded operating system (Reworks) with independent intellectual property rights, the system involves thousands of chips and ship equipment, but China has few supporting capabilities.”

There is a saying in the shipbuilding industry that “one ship exports, one thousand benefits”, which means that thousands of equipment supporting enterprises are needed to build a ship. It drives the overall development of equipment manufacturing in a region and a country. "The shipbuilding power relies on tonnage, and the shipbuilding power depends on equipment." The localization rate of ship equipment fully reflects the technical level of a country's manufacturing industry. The world shipbuilding powers Japan and South Korea have a shipbuilding equipment yield of 80%-90%.

Statistics show that in the past 20 years, China's shipbuilding tonnage has developed rapidly, and the shipbuilding capacity has risen from less than 2 million DWT to over 14 million tons per year, accounting for about 20% of the world's total shipbuilding capacity. However, the domestic shipping rate of marine products has dropped sharply. Less than 30%, and 30% of the equipment is mostly low-tech products, and high-end marine equipment is almost blank.

To become a world shipbuilding power, China should give greater attention to the shipbuilding equipment manufacturing industry. At the end of 2004, the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Commission took the lead in the study of the three marine equipment research projects in Shanghai and launched the “Research on Embedded System for Marine Engine Automation”. At present, the project has entered Phase II, and researchers are developing more subsystems to Enrich and improve the function of the "neural system" of this domestic ship and realize the pure "Made in China".

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