The test site off the coast of Zhuhai will be jointly funded by the Zhuhai city government, the China Classification Society, Wuhan University of Technology, and Oceanalpha, an unmanned vessel company.
The first phase of the site will occupy 21.6 square kilometers and second phase 750 squar kilometers. It will have communication and navigation facilities as well as a berth, according to Oceanalpha sources.
The Zhuhai-based company said its unmanned patrol ship has been licensed for test.
The site is designed to emulate, test and verify functions of unmanned ships, including route planning, tracking, berthing and departure.
"Zhuhai hopes to become a high-tech base for the development, test and certification of unmanned ships in three to five years," said Lu Xiaofeng, deputy mayor of Zhuhai.