By 2035 automated, unmanned cargo ships are expected to be making voyages across the sea. Although the necessary technology already exists, the primary fears restraining its trial and introduction are of safety. That said, 75% of all cargo ship incidents are caused by human error. The Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks (MUNIN) is an European Union funded organisation that is researching and developing the drone boats.
A simple 3-4mb broadband connection would provide adequate communication to the vessels, which carry food, minerals and goods over the ocean. One person would be in charge of up to 10 vessels from an on-land control centre.
“There aren’t many willing to believe it, but if the project partners succeed in overcoming the challenges we are currently working with, vessels such as this will in fact be safer than many of those on the high seas today”, said researcher Ørnulf Rødseth.
A major drawback of such technology would be the vast unemployment caused in the industry, as the cargo ships no longer require any personnel onboard. With this in mind, the maritime industry could be very reluctant to welcome such technology.
The reduction of shipping costs would be phenomenal for the consumer, with wages and fuel costs almost dissolved. Would you welcome the introduction of this technology? Or do you feel such futuristic changes are a sign of bad times for the humble worker?