Autonomous ships are already a reality

Autonomous ships are already a reality

14-11-2017 12:00:00

More than 200 maritime stakeholders from around the world are gathered in Copenhagen on Tuesday to be informed about and discuss autonomous shipping. The director of the Danish Maritime Authority Andreas Norseth concluded from the conference that autonomous ships are not a future vision - it is already a reality.

"If you want to see an autonomous ship, you just have to look out the window," said Andreas Norseth, referring to Denmark's first commercially available autonomous and remote-controlled workboat manufactured by Tuco Marine based on the company's ProZero range that sailed unmanned around outside the conference room at Copenhagen Harbor.

But although autonomous ships are technically possible, there are many unresolved issues associated with the use of autonomous ships.

"If a dangerous situation occurs on board a ship, who should then take the decision to evacuate the ship. Is it possible to replace human assessment with an algorithm," asked Andreas Norseth.
Solas demands ships to help each other, but how do two autonomous ships help each other - another of many examples, Norseth gave unresolved issues about autonomous ships.

"But it's not just about managing a ship from shore, it's also about controlling a ship from land, and we can already benefit from digitalization today. We can create a complete digital copy of a ship, and monitor and optimize operations from land," said Norseth.

Today's program observes autonomous ships from a variety of angles and also looks at questions from the participants and panel debates on the stage.

One year ago, the Danish Maritime Authority published a preliminary analysis of autonomous ships in cooperation with DTU. The next step in the work on regulation in this area has been taken, since the Danish Maritime Authority and Rambøll/CORE later this year will be published with a new report focusing on specific areas where regulation is to be considered.

This work will ensure that Denmark creates the framework before the industry can seriously address the use of new technological solutions in shipping.

Behind the conference are Danske Rederier, Danske Maritime and IDA Maritim.

Source: The editors of Maritime Denmark

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