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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday November 05 2016, @12:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the what-a-boat-pirates dept.

In January, the British firm Automated Ships and its Norwegian partners Kongsberg Maritime will begin work on the first offshore vessel that can be run with no captain, crew, or engineers.

The ship, named the Hrönn, is being designed as an offshore support vessel capable of delivering cargo to remote locations, launching and retrieving unmanned submersible craft, and acting as a resupply vessel for North Sea oil rigs. It will be launched next year and, pending successful sea trials, will be certified for offshore use the following year.

"The advantages of unmanned ships are manifold, but primarily center on the safe-guarding of life and reduction in the cost of production and operations; removing people from the hazardous environment of at-sea operations and re-employing them on-shore to monitor and operate robotic vessels remotely; along with the significantly decreased cost in constructing ships, will revolutionize the marine industry," said Automated Ships MD Brett Phaneuf.

The shipping industry is keener than its automotive cousins to get robot ships running commercially. The industry has been revolutionized by containers, which slashed the cost of shipping goods, and is now hoping for similar savings by taking humans out of the equation, or helping to augment them.

Sigh. There goes your bright future at sea.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Saturday November 05 2016, @03:35AM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday November 05 2016, @03:35AM (#422735)

    Radar is better than a mate in the crow's nest.

    I'm surprised nobody is making a big deal about the lack of crew quarters, supplies, living space, wheel house, etc. On larger ships it's a smaller percentage of the total vessel, but for a smallish supply ship ditching the crew is a significant upgrade in carrying capacity.

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  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Saturday November 05 2016, @05:22AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Saturday November 05 2016, @05:22AM (#422747)

    Radar is only good for large ships, or ships with radar enhancers.
    Many, many smaller sailing ships get run over (and often sunk) by larger ships that "just didn't see" the smaller boat.
    Camera operated ships will just be worse.

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    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Saturday November 05 2016, @01:20PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday November 05 2016, @01:20PM (#422821)

      Smaller sailing ships in the oil fields of the North sea (where these auto-supply craft are proposed to operate) can probably be convinced to put a reflector on the top of their mast. The mates in the crows' nests of the conventional ships won't be seeing them anyway.

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