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Interview

South Korea's Avikus bets on self-driving technology for ships

Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings' unit touts improved safety as selling point

Avikus CEO Lim Do-hyeong says his company's navigational systems for self-driving boats can help reduce accidents. (Photo courtesy of Avikus) 

SEOUL -- South Korean company Avikus is going full steam ahead with the development and production of navigational systems for self-driving boats -- including both large commercial vessels and small recreational craft -- aiming to lead a sector projected to log brisk growth this decade.

The navigational systems use similar technology to self-driving cars, allowing boats to detect obstacles and follow a preprogrammed route. Avikus says autonomous vessels could provide a solution to chronic labor shortages in the shipping industry, while boosting fuel efficiency. Self-navigation systems could also spur demand for leisure boats by lowering barriers to users.

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