The shipping industry is facing major changes nowadays. Because of the hardcore fuel price increase and heightened globalization, the shipping industry is under a lot of pressure. In order to survive, some experts declare it has to adapt to changes and conform to the high-tech society today. As autonomous cars are being developed and currently put to the test, the idea of autonomous ships has also been pitched in for a competitive and sustainable shipping industry in the future.
An autonomous ship is a vessel navigating without human input. It is remotely monitored and operated by skilled technicians and expert mariners from shore. In the future, however, advocates of autonomous ships hope for an artificial intelligence control center. Maritime companies like Yara and Rolls Royce have proposals for these robotic ships and have planned to start building one. In fact, Yara already built the world’s first ever all-electric autonomous container ship, which is set to sail on 2018. This will first operate as a manned vessel before it transitions to a fully autonomous ship by the year 2020.
Interest in autonomous ships continues to increase enormously. Whether you are shipping Crossfit and powerlifting wrist wraps, the best powerlifting apparel or any number of things, the interest is growing. These ships are said to be more efficient, safer and less expensive to run. Companies are also likely to shift from road to sea journey for product transportation. Instead of a whopping number of about 40 to 50 thousand trucks transporting goods worldwide, they could shift to these autonomous ships, which will most probably be battery-operated. This way, noise and dust emissions, as well as NOx and CO2, will be reduced significantly, and of course, local roads will be safer, and land traffic will be eased.
However astonishing and revolutionary, many are also skeptical about these ships. Skeptics say that crewing costs only around six percent of the overall expense of running a ship. This goes to say that even if manning is completely eliminated, it would still be impractical because building these remotely controlled autonomous ships and their onshore operating centers will be more expensive than the relatively minor savings made from taking out the crew. Another concern raised was the possibility of a major rise in unemployment. Seafarers will lose jobs, and maritime labor supply countries may experience a downgrade of the economy.
In a globalized industry, these issues are not considered substantial although still carefully taken heed. Companies and experts weigh all considerations and make sure every decision is for the welfare of the society.
Autonomous ships have been deemed impossible for several decades. But now, that has changed. It’s even affecting businesses like Denver piano movers and others who never saw anything like this coming. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been exerting incredible efforts to utilize technological advancement in developing e-navigation and eventually actualize autonomous intelligent ships. The Finnish Marine Industries joint forces with Rolls Royce and other companies to develop and carefully probe autonomous shipping in the Baltic Sea. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Maritime Authority and Norwegian Coastal Administration signed an agreement to permit germane sea trials around the Trondheim Fjord and designate it as the world’s first testing ground for autonomous ships. These being said, the eventuality of generating autonomous ships into society is not far off. In fact, experts say that self-piloted sea vessels are even more likely to be developed more rapidly than self-driving cars. These will, as believed, bring about an industrial revolution.