The future is autonomous, both for road vehicles, but vessels too. It is an interesting concept boosting efficiency. However, it also has several regulatory concerns. What is the state of the current autonomous vessels segment, find out in the post below.
With the development of technology and infrastructure, multiple pilot projects have been carried out using autonomous and remote-controlled vessels. The projects originated in the past five years, with a clear outlook on future development. However, with different risks to be taken into account, no national or international regulatory legislation is yet available.
According to Riviera Maritime's News, IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is putting in effort regarding the above mentioned issues. An international instrument for MASS, maritime autonomous surface ships, is to be developed and adopted by the second half of 2024.
Different issues need to be taken into account, from defining a 'remote operator' as a MASS crew member, his responsibilities and operation scope. Moreover, specific requirements and qualifications will have to be met for a person to obtain a MASS crew member role.
There are different degrees of vessels, which are the following: crewed ship with automated processes and decision support (Degree One); remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board (Degree Two); remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board (Degree Three); and fully autonomous ship (Degree Four).
The company Orca AI innovates the marine navigation sphere, providing an intelligent technological solution for collision avoidance in maritime transport. The company developed a collision avoidance platform specifically designed for maritime markets. Its software is supported by computer vision sensors, thermal and low-light cameras and AI-powered algorithms generated from multiple sources. The latter allows for different ways to hazards at sea and create alerts.
Orca AI conducted a trial across 110 vessels in 2022 and according the trial's data, customers saw a 26.9% reduction in the number of close encounter events, a 21.6% decline in sharp manoeuvres and an 18% reduction in extreme drops of speed.
The most interesting sustainability benefit is that the company believes these improvements in operational efficiency led to a 66,3 t reduction in CO2 emissions in total.
Unmanned and autonomous are the new keywords for the innovation segment in boating. We are curious to see how will the aforementioned projects and platforms overspill to the leisure boating segment.