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Test base for unmanned surface vessels to be operational this year

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-10 11:04

A 5G technology-powered unmanned surface vessel made by Yunzhou Technology demonstrates how it works on the water outside the exhibition venue of the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

China's first research and testing base for unmanned surface vessels will be put into operation by the end of this year, becoming a public technology service platform for marine equipment between Guangdong province and the neighboring Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

The base, in the shape of double ships, is located in Zhuhai, a coastal city in western Guangdong. It will cover a construction area of 54,000 square meters, and the investment will reach up to 380 million yuan ($53.3 million).

Construction of the base, called the Xiangshan Marine Technology Harbor, began over two years ago and was finished in early September this year.

"We are carrying out interior decoration of the base and construction of the roads and landscape engineering around the base," said Huang Chao, Party secretary of the Zhuhai unmanned surface vessel base project of the China Railway No 2 Engineering Group, which constructed the Xiangshan Marine Technology Harbor.

According to Huang, more than 8,700 metric tons of steel were used in the harbor.

As one of the key infrastructure projects in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the base will focus on development of the industrial chain of unmanned vessels and marine equipment. They will be equipped with indoor laboratories, testing pools, and other facilities, Huang explained.

Cheng Liang, general manager of Yunzhou Technology, a leading Chinese maker of unmanned surface vessels in Zhuhai, said the company had been working with several universities in Hong Kong and Macao to conduct technology research and development of unmanned vessels.

"A growing number of technology giants and institutes, as well as innovative companies, have been willing to move to the base, which will be mainly used for the research and testing of unmanned surface vessel technologies," said Cheng.

The company unveiled early this year an unmanned model powered by 5G telecommunication technology at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

The USV, equipped with a system created in collaboration with Swedish telecom company Ericsson and Chinese telecom operator China Mobile, carries high-definition cameras, a water sample collecting device and a water quality testing device.

Being able to transmit real-time high-definition videos about information on the waters around it, the vessel allows water environment monitoring and treatment to be smarter and helps improve data accuracy and raise efficiency, the company stated.

"The base will help boost the development of a new generation of information technology, high-end intelligent equipment and new materials," said Cheng.

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