The autonomous ship technology has become a “hot” topic in the discussion about more efficient, environmentally friendly and safer sea transportation solutions. The time is becoming mature for the introduction of commercially sensible solutions for unmanned and fully autonomous cargo and passenger ships. Safety will be the most interesting and important aspect in this development. The utilization of the autonomous ship technology will have many effects on the safety, both positive and negative. It has been announced that the goal is to make the safety of an unmanned ship better that the safety of a manned ship. However, it must be understood that the human element will still be present when fully unmanned ships are being used. The shore-based control of a ship contains new safety aspects and an interesting question will be the interaction of manned and unmanned ships in the same traffic area. The autonomous ship technology should therefore be taken into account on the training of seafarers. Also it should not be forgotten that every single control algorithm and rule of the internal decision making logic of the autonomously navigating ship has been designed and coded by a human software engineer. Thus the human element is present also in this point of the lifetime navigation system of the autonomous ship.
The different versions of the original document can be found in:
Are you one of the authors of this document?