It is coming, but when?:
It will probably take longer to change International Maritime Laws to allow it to happen than to prove up technical solutions to make it possible on a large scale.
For one thing the interpretation of this part of the ColRegs will have to change:
Rule 5 requires that "every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.
I’m sure they will change the whole COLREGS and then eventually 33 CFR 83. I wasn’t alive for the change from '60 COLREGS to '72 COLREGS, but it seems like it was a pretty substantial change happened there, and I’m not sure why it wouldn’t happen again as technology progresses.
I’d imagine IMO’s MASS committee probably has a COLREGS rewrite in the drafts somewhere. While we’re at it I’d like to see that correct AIS Nav Status be codified in the rules, and it wouldn’t surprise me if “in sight of one another” expanded to electronically detected by radar or AIS in some form.