Future of ships


The history has a tendency to repeat itself. Protesters tried to stop horseless carriages (better known as Automobiles) I can agree that it was a dangerous invention that has killed more people that wars.

The switch from sail to steam and from steam to diesel propulsion for ships also met resistance, as did automation of machinery and equipment everywhere.
If we go back far enough there were probably resistance against the wheel.

I like this quote though: [quote]The army rounded up many of the dissidents in the days that followed, and dozens were hanged or transported to Australia. [/quote]
Which was regarded as the worst punishment??


Death is final. In transportation lies hope. Isn’t it true that we were part of the huge transportation processes over the years and we are still able to smile ? Read Marcus Clarke - For the terms of his natural life -.


The new wing of Norwegian Maritime Competence Centre (NMK) is soon ready for occupation. It will contain a new Simulator that allow research and testing of equipment developed within the Maritime Cluster around Aalesund and beyond: http://www.smp.no/nyheter/2017/04/03/Her-ser-du-to-minutter-inn-i-framtida-14547675.ece?rs72585

Offshore Simulation Centre (OCS) will also be used for teaching and training of officers and maritime professionals from the University and Maritime School across the street.
This goes way beyond what is required by STCW or any Flag state but is required by the operators of highly complex vessels used in the offshore oil & gas and wind farm industries worldwide.

Here is a presentation of OCS and what they have to offer: hniforum.no/cmsAdmin/uploads/offshore-simulator-centre.pdf

I’m proud to say that this is going on within a short distance from my home in Norway.
What is happening here will affect the future of the maritime professions worldwide, whether it is wanted or not.

How it will affect the US Maritime industry and US Mariners are up to you, but to resist development is not going to stop it. At most you can slow it down in your little part of the market. To have a small % of the large world market is better than to have 100% of a small and protected market, but it requires following the trend and development that the market demands.


Things are happening faster than even I had thought possible: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/no/rollsroyce/pressreleases/to-nye-ferger-vil-faa-autocrossing-fra-rolls-royce-1895677
There will still be crew to handle drive on/off and a Captain in the wheelhouse for the time being, but the last is mainly because the rules are not yet changed to where these ferries can go fully automatic.
Engineers??? I don’t know whether the rules still require those when there are no engines, only batteries and electric motors.
I assume somebody will have to make sure heating and toilets for the pax work though.


As has been stated here many times, regulations are more of a hindrance to Autonomous ships than technology: http://splash247.com/autonomous-ship-regulation-will-prove-far-tricky-developing-required-technology/
Give your vote.


I’m all for regulations that hinder implementation of technology that could put me out of work one day.


A baby step maybe but it is happening whether we want it or not: http://gcaptain.com/worlds-first-zero-emission-fully-autonomous-ship-planned-for-2020/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Gcaptain+(gCaptain.com)


A counter argument for truck transport vs short sea shipping: http://splash247.com/robotrucks-versus-short-sea-shipping/
But both based on autonomous means of transportation.


When autonomous ships, trucks and flying cars are common place, what will the ports look like??
Here is Kalmar’s (Cargotech) take on what is will be like in 2060: http://splash247.com/video-depicts-port-operations-year-2060/


Maybe one day, but not in our lifetimes, not in any appreciable numbers.


More warning against hacker attack against autonomous ships: http://splash247.com/hacked-ships/
Are there guaranteed ways of securing yourself against hacker attacks?? I’m sure the people working on making the Yara Birkeland become reality is full aware of the dangers, especially since this vessel will operate in near coastal waters and exposed to more danger of that nature than a vessel on the open ocean.


Speaking as someone who spent almost 40 years in computer security, the answer is “no.”




I wonder how much in ransom a company would pay to get back control of their ship before it was intentionally run aground? Gonna cost more than $300 in Bitcoin.


More on the Yara Birkeland and the Future of Ships and Shipping: http://gcaptain.com/ships-without-sailors-it-cant-happen-soon-enough-opinion/


Looks like they’re falling into the Level 2 trap (robot primary, human backup):

The Yara Birkeland is a modest but important step forward. Although it can be operated remotely by a pilot, it will also be able to cruise on its own, using an array of sensors, cameras and navigation tools, all guided by sophisticated algorithms. Back on shore, an operations center will monitor its progress.

The SAE levels are (from Wikipedia):

SAE automated vehicle classifications:

Level 0: Automated system issues warnings but has no vehicle control.
Level 1 (”hands on”): Driver and automated system shares control over the vehicle. An example would be be Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) where the driver controls steering and the automated system controls speed. Using Parking Assistance, steering is automated while speed is manual. The driver must be ready to retake full control at any time. Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) Type II is a further example of level 1 self driving.
Level 2 (”hands off”): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to immediately intervene at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. The shorthand ”hands off” is not meant to be taken literally. In fact, contact between hand and wheel is often mandatory during SAE 2 driving, to confirm that the driver is ready to intervene.
Level 3 (”eyes off”): The driver can safely turn their attention away from the driving tasks, e.g. the driver can text or watch a movie. The vehicle will handle situations that call for an immediate response, like emergency braking. The driver must still be prepared to intervene within some limited time, specified by the manufacturer, when called upon by the vehicle to do so.
Level 4 (”mind off”): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, i.e. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver’s seat. Self driving is supported only in limited areas (geofenced) or under special circumstances, like traffic jams. Outside of these areas or circumstances, the vehicle must be able to safely abort the trip, i.e. park the car, if the driver does not retake control.
Level 5 (”wheel optional”): No human intervention is required. An example would be a robot taxi.

Level 2 is a complacency generator. Ford’s autonomous vehicle project observed that what often happened when a Level 2 robot took over was that the test driver dozed off. Now think of a Level 2 ship “captain” in a comfy chair in a climate-controlled room with no audible or motion cues. Zzzzzz. Crunch.




If level 5; No Captain, nobody to fall asleep.
If Level 2; Motion sensors and loud alarm to wake up the “driver” if he falls asleep.

I believe the Yara Birkeland will initially have an “operator” or two on board.
This being a vessel purpose built for very short voyages, not much in form of facilities for crew comfort is required. Nobody living onboard.

After an initial test period of maybe 1 year, the vessel will have no “operator” on board, but will be remotely controlled from a shore based control centre.

After approx. 2 years it is intended that the vessel will be operating totally autonomous, but with monitoring from the control room ashore.

PS> I sincerely hope that the people developing this project doesn’t confuse a vessel at sea with a car on a busy road, with God knows what kind of “idiots” driving the other cars, falling asleep, or be too busy texting to pay attention to what is happening on the road.

Admittedly, they have to consider “numerous” pleasure crafts and WAFIs in that area during the summer season. Best of luck to them.


I gave a talk to a human factors class in a petroleum engineering school last month. My last slide was entitled “Takeaways” and one bullet said “Read Every Accident Report You Can Get Your Hands On.”

If you do that you’ll develop an appreciation for how hard situational awareness is to gain and how easy it is to lose.




Agree, but does that apply to computers as well??


I was referring to the human backup.




More opinions on the subject of autonomous ships and cyber security: http://emag.virtual-expo.com/article-long/autonomous-shipping-the-dangers-of-cybercrime/

And in shipping at Nor-Shipping this year: http://nor-shipping.com/crowdstrike/