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China begins construction of the first autonomous research ship


According to information published by the Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai) in July 2021, the scientific research institute lays the keel of the ship which is expected to be the world's first research vessel with remote control and autonomous navigation.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the future first autonomous research ship (Picture source: Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory)


The vessel has a length of 88,5 m, a beam of 6,1 m, and a draft of 3,7 m. The research ship can reach a top speed of 18 knots and has a displacement of 2000 tons. She has a spacious deck that can carry unmanned systems.

The first autonomous research ship is designed by China Ship Design &Research Center and built by Huangpu Wenchong Shipyard.

China Ship Design & Research Center Co., Ltd., is a platform for R&D design and technology innovation of civil vessels and marine engineering equipment established by CSIC with the joint investment of 68 million Yuan from 8 well-known shipbuilding enterprises and research institutes at home.

Huangpu Wenchong is a subsidiary of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and one of the largest shipyards building military and commercial cargo ships.