Is it just me or is all this talk about autonomous ships moving the ball down the road a bit fast? I read an article today speculating that autonomous ships will happen before autonomous cars.
I remain confused as to how these remote operated vessels will comply with Rule 6 as currently written. If one is required to take into consideration things such as the “state of visibility” and “the state of wind, sea and current”, how does that work when the operator is in a separate space thousands of miles away from the vessel?
Also, Rule 7 says “every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists”. If there is not a physical lookout posted on the bridge because the vessel owner chose instead to have the vessel operated remotely, can it be said that the vessel “used all available means” to avoid collision?
No doubt there are an array of other issues surrounding autonomous vessels (fire fighting, engine maintenance, fuel purification, etc.) but these 2 particular issues have been on mind for awhile and I wonder if I am simply off base here.