The Future of Shipping?
Congratulations this week to Ocean Infinity, announcing their plans for a number of 78m Autonomous vessels, to be built by VARD.
It is fantastic to see industry leaders emerging with new technology even through these difficult times. The addition of eight 78-metre autonomous vessels to their fleet, will transform the industry we work in.
While the development of autonomous vessel control technology has been ongoing by IACS members for some time and Class NK issued its formal rules in January of this year, this announcement will force the pace for the development and implementation of defined rules applicable to larger vessels by the higher profile organisations to have rules rather than general guides in place before build commencement, assuming a 2022 launch date.
This poses additional questions regarding DP redundancy concepts, such as being “DP2” which currently includes a requirement for “Competent Personnel” controlling and operating the vessel. Intangible issues such as potential impacts from cyber-security risks, network storm across data networks and more practical issues such as maintenance will need to be considered. It will be interesting to see how these will be addressed to mitigate safety concerns and meet the exacting standards for DP redundancy.
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