The 5,000 DWT Zhi Fei is 117 metres in length with a max speed of 12 knots. It was developed by Navigation Brilliance, Dalian Maritime University, and the China Waterborne Transport Research Institute
Navigation Brilliance has previously conducted autonomous trials with smaller vessels to test its navigation technology.
Meanwhile, Yunzhou Tech has partnered with Zhuhai Port Shipping to develop a fleet of autonomous cargo vessels.
The Nippon Foundation is also backing the development of autonomous ships with the goal of making up 50 per cent of Japan's local fleet crewless by 2040.