HD Hyundai partners with US AI developer to build military unmanned vessels

By Park Sae-jin Posted : April 15, 2024, 16:31 Updated : April 15, 2024, 16:31
This image was produced using the generative AI-based image creation service Karloai
[The image of an unmanned surface vehicle was produced using the generative AI-based image creation service Karlo.ai]

SEOUL, April 15 (AJU PRESS) - HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipbuilder, has forged a partnership with Palantir Technologies, a U.S. artificial intelligence technology company, to jointly develop military unmanned surface vehicles (USVs).

The South Korean company said Sunday the two companies have recently signed a memorandum of understanding in Washington to build reconnaissance USVs by 2026 and further cooperate to develop combat USVs in the future. 

The project involves HD Hyundai integrating an autonomous navigation software developed by its subsidiary Avikus into Palantir's Mission Autonomy platform for autonomous decision-making models based on real-time sensor data including video, images, radar, and acoustic. HD Hyundai will also develop the hull and components of the USVs.
Ju Won-ho Representative of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries Special Shipbuilding Division left and Ryan Taylor CEO of Palantir take a commemorative photo at the signing ceremony of the MOU for the development of unmanned surface vessels held at Palantirs office in Washington DC USA Courtesy of HD Hyundai
HD Hyundai Heavy Industries Vice President Joo Won-ho (left) and Ryan Taylor, CEO of Palantir Technologies, take a commemorative photo at the signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding for the development of unmanned surface vessels, held at Palantir's office in Washington DC, USA [Courtesy of HD Hyundai]

The shipbuilder said it aims to develop USV models differentiated from conventional unmanned ships that showed poor performance compared to manned vessels. Current USVs are virtually inoperable in high waves and other adverse conditions due to sensor malfunctions. 

"Based on our two companies' achievements and credibility, we will venture into the global unmanned vessel market, which is a new blue ocean market influenced by cutting-edge technologies," HD Hyundai Vice President Joo Won-ho said in a press release.

USVs are autonomous vessels capable of various tasks such as navigating through designated waypoints and search and rescue missions.

With the rapid development of AI and sensor technologies, many global shipbuilders have joined the competition in the market for commercial USVs during the last decade.

The global market for autonomous vessels, valued at $8.8 billion in 2022, is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 13.6 percent to reach about 28 billion by 2031, according to market researcher Skyquest.
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