I wonder why there was a breakdown in civility…
This alone is the reason one should avoid definitive statements like ‘never’ since it works as a reason to the positive and negative alike. No one can foresee–with precision-- and this caveat is the key to the debate. The trend of history and innovation suggests these kinds of challenges can and will be overcome. It can be difficult to imagine the end state but usually because we get locked into projecting a distant future onto the present or near future vice the track progress will actually take and the amount of time it will take.
A vessel with a crew is easily at risk too, in some ways more at risk since more is at stake and the crew becomes a point of unique vulnerability–since a ship is designed for humans to escape rapidly, and thus cannot be hardened against access in ways manned ships never will. Humans can also collaborate with pirates, and are a reason to seize a vessel itself for use as hostages for ransom.
Actually, there’s a lot that is known about the typical and atypical incidents and issues for ships at sea. It is easy to look at the complexity of the issue today and see a set of insurmountable problems and decide the effort of cataloguing and attacking the issues is so herculean as to be beyond all human ken. But this isn’t the case. Much like the security issue, the cargo container fires which led to abandonment and constructive loss is a point of lower vulnerability for unmanned. The crew becomes an element of the failure of the control of the manned ship due to the primacy of protecting human life. Whereas, if the hold is adequately protected from the machinery (and yes any air intakes) and telemetry is maintained, more can be done for longer with autonomous. A crew unable to breathe due to the toxic fumes, hot decks and bulkheads and absolutely no interest in saving an insured vessel departs, the machinery fails, the ship stops and is at the mercy of the elements and the distance of the response assets. The autonomous ship could feasibly sail to those response assets. It is possible the autonomous ship would do better in multiple other scenarios for the lack of human and human engineering based vulnerabilities.
It is not a fact, it’s an opinion and if it were a fact, it surely wouldn’t be simple.
When the steamship builders contemplated tackling the oceans, they didn’t start from zero, steam ferries were plying the rivers and near coastal areas. The thought of taking on the Atlantic was probably much like this discussion, plenty of room for nay-saying. Too much risk, what if the engine fails, economic issues related to engines and space for fuel versus cargo and passenger and soon, what if, what if - so, not surprisingly most of the early steampships were also fitted with sail because no one could imagine or have sufficient faith. It took time of course, but think about the trajectory from that point of steamships moving from rivers and near coastal to the oceans, and to today—where not only are sails not fitted, but there is often, usually, only one engine! A lot of naysaying, distrust, and forecasts of doom, but if you look at the endstate, a lot of the issues and nay saying was perhaps not wrong, but it was overcome. There’s rarely a place for blanket ‘never’ statements. (Rarely, not never…)
Whatever one’s opinion on the matter, nay sayers are proven right until they’re not, and people who can see an avenue for it have to wait until it is done to be proven right. Thus, ‘nay sayer’ is a comfortable side of an argument. I think people look at this issue and things as they are today. Despite all the perceived uncertainties, risks, and challenges, there will always be incremental moves forward that one day will form a present/future unimaginable to many folks in the past. That autonomous (perhaps battery powered) ferry will get a longer route, the series of ‘next’ steps will seem obvious and newly feasible, and then achievable, and before you know it…
Indeed… but I would say history informs the argument, largely to the positive. But, there seems little point in an opinion-based discussion of the future, so I’m good with letting this thread die. However, I will point out that there seems agreement on the increase of automation, technology & innovation leading to further reduction in manning, and that is that incremental, next step we can see today.