April 2016

An April 12 article in the Maritime Executive reports on a Rolls Royce statement that robot ships will be trading by 2020.

 

Apparently, through the Rolls-Royce led Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA), researchers suggested that engineering hurdles would not be major obstacle. There is no doubt that if engineering hurdles refer to hardware, that autonomous ships should be easier than autonomous aircraft or cars. A ship floats, and all it needs is a reliable means of propulsion to get where it needs to go using an autopilot and GPS.

 

In many ways the technology is already installed in ships and can be modified from off the shelf equipment even with inexpensive equipment used in recreational vessels.

 

If one wants to add rules of the road and accident avoidance one can add ARPA style radar and some programming, and maybe IR or LIDAR and to a large extent things are quite doable. But are these the actual engineering hurdles?

 

On a total ship system level, the engineering becomes much fuzzier, and upon closer examination I would argue that a robotic ship system is much more complicated than a robotic airplane or car system.

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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Monday, April 11th, 2016

In Memoriam Gene Ferrari

On Friday April 8, 2016 we lost our dear friend Gino Ferrari. Gino was an icon in the New York maritime industry and a person who both maintained the highest standards and at the same time always looked for ways to make life just a little better and a little more fun for everybody in the industry.

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