China's first center for R&D and trials of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) will open at the Xiangshan Marine Scientific & Technological Port in the first half of 2019.
The 300 million-yuan ($47-million) project is being constructed in the Zhuhai National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone in Tangjiawan. The complex is shaped like a double-hull carrier and the main building was topped on Aug 8.
It is situated south of Tangjia Bay and north of North Lovers Avenue, covering 32,000 sq m (7.9 acres). The first phase has total floorage of more than 50,000 sq m (12.4 acres), with access to 26,000 sq m (6.4 acres) of the sea and 31 berths.
Concrete poured for main building
The achievement belongs mainly to Zhuhai Yunzhou Intelligence Technology, also known as Oceanalpha. Company founder and chairman Zhang Yunfei revealed that the park will conduct a range of USV tests and increase the accumulation rate and iteration speed of related technologies by a factor of five to 10. It will have laboratories, test grounds, and a complete set of R&D equipment costing 100 million yuan ($15.6 million).
The municipal and provincial key project will extend the USV marine equipment industry chain. New-generation information technology, high-end intelligent equipment, and new materials will also get a boost, as will developments related to low-carbon economy and the ocean, according to Zhang.
Several leading scientific research institutions, national key university laboratories, and giant manufacturers have decided on or are contemplating cooperation with the park, sources say.
Construction is being carried out by the third branch of China Railway Group 2.
Rendering of Xiangshan Marine Scientific & Technological Port [Photos by Chen Xinnian / Zhuhai Daily]