Transition Pilots
2 Oct 2017 10:27 (GMT+1)

The forgotten aspects of autonomous vessels

When we discuss autonomous vessels, we tend to focus on the digital/electric aspects alone. This is natural since there are obvious technological challenges there. However, what is never discussed, as far as I can read, is the mechanical aspects of autonomous vessels. To explain that, consider the figure below from the MUNIN project. Modes of digital assistance. (Image courtesy of the MUNIN project.).We see that today everything requires manning in one way or the other. Remote ships are techn...
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last 48 years ago

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10 months ago
Jan, in the above you assume that everything will be as today, but as with a lot of new development you must think "out of the box". You will not take a ship designed for today's world and make it autonomous in the world of tomorrow. The complete design and setup need to be changed - and we must forget a lot of "what we used to do"!
10 months ago
I agree with your comments John. Tomorrows
10 months ago
Tomorrow's ships will be designed by tomorrow's designers, using tomorrow's technology for tomorrow's markets. To achieve that, we cannot use today's thinking.
10 months ago
I hear what you guys say, but I am not completely convinced. Tomorrow is shaped today and new technologies rarely leapfrog directly. Even though engines can be done away with using electric propulsion completely, there are still other components that will be mechanical. Also, at the end of the day it must be competitive on cost.
9 months ago
Autonomous ships demands also very complex machinery system, because there should be back-up for nearby everything and machinery system should be highly automated. This means, that the costs are going up. I agree, that the speed of the vessel is also going down, because people and fuel are are the biggest cost factors. Also the manoeuvering ability should be good, because arriving to the harbour should also be autonomous with "automatic parking assistance" system.
9 months ago
The point of the reliability is valid and true; unless this technology is proved, then it is difficult to be considered as an alternative. SOLAS and all other instruments apply to ships engaged in international voyages and imply an innocent passage. Many coastal states may argue that a passage of an autonomous ship is prejudicial to their good order, therefore not an innocent one, and then things become nasty! The industry should find a way to prove the technology and deprive vested interests and stakeholders of arguments against this technology first.
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