15 May 2020

Autonomous Shipping: how realistic in the distant future?

The introduction of breakthrough technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality, machine learning, cloud computing, and augmented reality have brought the idea of autonomous vessels to reality. Autonomous vessels are the future of modern marine traffic. Where do we stand?  

Projects around autonomous vessels have mostly been in response to counter issues in the global shipping industry. The magnitude of the benefits autonomy brings marine traffic can be calculated in safety, costs, reliability, and efficiency. With 90% of the world trade being moved by ships, the shipping industry is the backbone of the global economy. However, accidents are common at sea, and various studies cite human behavior as the leading cause of marine accidents and inefficiencies. The development of autonomous marine navigation will set new standards and influence upcoming regulatory work of marine traffic. 

From remote monitoring to fully remote-controlled vessel to autonomous shipping 

In 2017, One Sea presented a roadmap towards autonomous shipping. This organization consists of various companies with a primary aim to lead the way towards an operating autonomous maritime ecosystem by 2025. Their timeline for autonomous maritime traffic is currently ahead of schedule. Does this mean that we can expect autonomous shipping soon? No, not directly. Many hurdles need to be taken regarding around themes as Operational, Technical, Security, Regulatory, Traffic Control and Ethical. But steps are being taken. Europe has been at the forefront of efforts to realize autonomous ships. Not only with initiatives like One Sea, but various companies and organizations (in different industries like shipbuilding, engine manufacturers, big data, and other software providers) are collaborating and forming research alliances. However, the market of autonomous ships is highly fragmented, with many regional players which are funded by their local governments to collaborate and develop autonomous ships. 

Providing uninterrupted operation 

The question remains if it becomes a reality in the distant future? Many initiatives have made significant progress, but there are still a lot of challenges towards fully autonomous systems. As Radio Holland, we keep our finger on the pulse of technological evolutions together with our major OEMs.  

With our remote monitoring, diagnostics and maintenance services, we improve the reliability of vital installations already today. This way you can avoid unplanned maintenance, minimize service cost and eventually reduce your total cost of operation. Want to know more about our remote monitoring, diagnostics or maintenance services? Find out what we can do for you via Remote Support Solutions page. 

Or in order to know more or to be contacted by one of our advisors: 

  • Contact our Remote monitoring, Diagnostics & Maintenance advisors directly in your region (See addresses on our contact page).
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