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OverSword

Rolls-Royce is developing drone cargo ships

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From the article:

Drones are already patrolling the skies, and eventually Rolls-Royce wants to see them take over the seas too. According to Bloomberg, Rolls-Royce Holdings is developing unmanned cargo ships that can be remotely controlled by captains using a virtual-reality recreation of a vessel's bridge. Development on the ships began last year, and it expects the unmanned ships to eventually offer a safer, cleaner, and less-expensive option for moving cargo.

"Now the technology is at the level where we can make this happen, and society is moving in this direction," Oskar Levander, a marine engineering and technology executive at Rolls-Royce, tells Bloomberg. "If we want marine to do this, now is the time to move."

While now may be Rolls-Royce's time to start moving, it's far from the time when these ships will set sail. As Bloomberg points out, there are quite a few regulatory and financial hurdles in the way of unmanned vessels, including international minimum crew requirements and an ineligibility for being insured by major providers. And, as when it comes to self-driving cars taking over the roads, there are already plenty of concerns about what could go wrong when humans are removed from the picture.

Read the rest here

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Well lots of buzz around the web on this drone ships that it weighs less. But if we see this source which says that it costs €3.5m to develop a autonomous ship. Isn't that much expensive?

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Posted (edited)

Excellent, let's create more unemployment!

I have no problem with the advent of automation replacing human operation except that, in cases such as the OP describes, it is largely to eliminate the cost of employing people. Without any program to replace that employment, such automation only ends up benefitting a very few, while costing the majority more.

Edited by Leonardo

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Well cargo ships can have rather inhumane working conditions , depending on the flag they sail on, so I guess drone ships could help eliminate that maybe, probably not. Still I am skeptical about this, Ships already have enough negative impact on the environment. I mean how is a drone gone to avoid hitting a whale?

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This has been a dream of the shipping industry for years now. Crewless ships able to deliver cargo. Wonder how they would handle pirates?

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This has been a dream of the shipping industry for years now. Crewless ships able to deliver cargo. Wonder how they would handle pirates?

Drones?

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I'm not sure how I feel about private companies being able to operate armed drones, but that is a possibility.

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This has been a dream of the shipping industry for years now. Crewless ships able to deliver cargo. Wonder how they would handle pirates?

That is a really good question, wonder if anyone has thought about it besides you.

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