Cargo companies believe that autonomous ships will be more efficient and eliminate the potential for human errors.
Autonomous cars and commercial drones will soon be accompanied by fleets of self-driving ships. Many Japanese companies are rigorously developing new ideas to make autonomous ships a reality.
According to Nikkei business newspaper – The first remote-controlled cargo vessel will be launched by 2025.
Such ships will be empowered by the Internet of Things technology. Each ship will be embedded with mini sensors to gather data including shipping information, weather condition, track efficient routes, and ensure timely delivery. By eliminating the risks of human errors, companies can dramatically reduce the number of accidents in the ocean.
A ship manufacturing company, Mitsui OSK Lines has invested more than two hundred million dollars to make 250 autonomous ships. These ships will be able to operate accurately on busy shipping lanes, and perform sophisticated functions without human interventions. Japan will soon be a leading company to manufacture autonomous ships, but we’ll have to wait and see how their ideas will turn out.
The Japanese manufacturers received a significant support after Rolls-Royce said that it was eager to help develop autonomous ships. The company will lend its expertise and technology to Japanese ship company to design the very first unmanned ship.
According to Oskar Levander, vice-president of Rolls-Royce’s marine innovation, “This is happening. It’s not if, it’s when. The technologies needed to make remote and autonomous ships a reality exists, we will see a remote-controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade.””
Unlike Rolls-Royce’s previous ships that required at least one captain and crew, the Japanese vessels will be entirely unmanned, according to the Nikkei.
Many other Europeans associations are funding Japanese shipping companies for autonomous maritime navigation. Countries like Great Britain, Switzerland, and Sweden are partnering with a plethora Japanese ship manufacturers to empower this new technology.
On the other side of the globe, Norway has designed its own autonomous fully electric cargo ship that will be launched next year. The ship will be used to carry fertilizers between three ports of the country. The water vehicle will have a supervisor, and it will be unmanned by 2019.
The United States of America is already using the technology for defense purpose. In 2016, the launched a self-driving warship – Sea Hunter, which is currently used to hunt enemy submarines.
However, autonomous ships will be made available for Japanese cargo industry within this decade.