A ship-to-ship automatic docking system for ocean cargo transfer
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- Kim, Y.Y., Choi, KJ., Chung, H. et al. J Mar Sci Technol (2014) 19: 360. doi:10.1007/s00773-014-0256-3
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The world’s first ship-to-ship automatic docking system has been developed to provide a safe and reliable solution for docking between two ships exchanging containers in ocean. The system consists of vacuum pads, robot arms, cables, automatic winches and fenders. Basically, the docking status is maintained by contact force of fenders and cable tension controlled by automatic winches. All the developmental procedures from the conceptual design to the final prototype-system demonstration are presented focusing on the details of the two most important features: the passive- and emergency-mode controls. The passive-mode control makes the docking system freely follow the relative motion between the two ships without resistance. In case of emergency, the emergency-mode control is activated and the docking connection can be instantly released. A prototype was built to demonstrate the technical and operational feasibility in the actual ocean environment.