[QUOTE=z-drive;181071]What about a bogus alarm the chief can verify is bogus, rather than shut the entire plant down over a bad sensor mid Atlantic? Too complicated an operation to automate entirely I say.[/QUOTE]
No alarm will go off in the C/Eng. cabin since there will not be any C/Eng. to get annoyed, or any cabins for that matter.
Any system alarm will be dealt with by shore based personnel, who will be able to check the status of the machinery, system or individual equipment to verify if it is a faulty sensor, or a serious problem. In the last case there will be 100% redundancy, just like on a DP3 vessel today.
If I haven’t said it before I will repeat it here: We are NOT talking about taking an existing vessel, with yesteryear’s technology and machinery and making it autonomous. We are talking about vessels designed, built, equipped and programmed to operate autonomously, but with someone sitting in a control centre somewhere who can, if necessary, take control remotely.
That centre may be manned by qualified engineers and mariners working normal shifts and go home at the end of theirs shift.
A lot of ships are operated by Ship Management companies today. Why cannot that be expanded to operating Vessel Control Centers on behalf of many different Owners?
All major ports and coastal states operate VTS centers to control vessel traffic in their area. These centers are already watching and directing traffic in their area. They can be authorized to take control of autonomous ships remotely, if needed.
Pilotage is usually compulsory for entry and departure. Envisage the Pilot taking “charge” of an autonomous vessel while sitting in his office, watching the vessel maneuvering itself, but able to take over by remote control in case of any glitch.
As pointed out by others here, on OSVs DPS is now used by many young Masters to dock their vessel. Using fan beam or similar laser devices, that can easily be done automatically. (Somebody have to position the reflectors on the quayside the ship is to moor)
Mooring can be done by pneumatic or magnetic devices on the quayside.
All the necessary technology already exists and is in use, only not autonomously yet.
While sailing in open waters nobody is looking up from their numerous screen in the wheelhouse or ECR anyway. Why can they not sit ashore and look at screens showing the same thing?