The challenge of Arctic sea ice environments is crucial for Arctic shipping. To address this concern, we propose an innovative method for ship path planning to enhance navigation safety and efficiency in Arctic waters. Firstly, a 3D risk grid map for path planning is developed based on POLARIS. The JPS algorithm searches for key nodes on the 2D layers sliced from the 3D risk grid map with given risk values. Secondly, key nodes indicating different risk values are pruned to form a roadmap for path-finding. Then, the Dijkstra algorithm is employed to find the reference path yielding the lowest navigation risk from the roadmap. Finally, the ship's trajectory is optimized through optimal control to guarantee the ship's maneuver feasibility. Experiments are carried out to demonstrate the performance of the optimized trajectory, and the outcomes validate the proposed method, demonstrating its capability of rapidly planning safe and executable paths for Arctic shipping.


The Arctic sea ice area is diminishing due to global warming. According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC, 2022), there was a nearly 1.8 million square kilometers reduction in the Arctic sea ice area from 1999 to 2019. Predictions suggest a complete disappearance by September 2030 (Kim et al., 2023), extending the navigational periods of Arctic routes (Lin et al., 2023). The reduction in the area covered by sea ice has extensively promoted the development of shipping routes in the Arctic. According to the Northern Sea Route Information Office of Russia (NSRA, 2022), the number of ship voyages in the Arctic has shown a significant upward trend from 2016 to 2021. In particular, the number of voyages has exceeded one hundred every month since 2019, and the total number of ship voyages in September reached 2,610 from 2016 to 2021 in the Arctic waters of northern Russia. As ship activities increase in Arctic waters, a path-finding algorithm for voyage planning in the Arctic environment becomes a prerequisite for Arctic navigation.

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