Can unmanned ships improve navigational safety?
Paper in proceeding, 2014

Autonomous vehicles are appearing in ever-more fields such as aviation, public transportation and the automotive sector. That’s why it is not unlikely to see the deployment of unmanned merchant ships at some point in time. The collaborative research project MUNIN originates from this idea and aims to develop and verify a respective concept. The ship will primarily be guided by automated on-board decision-making systems but can also be controlled by a remote operator from a Shore Control Centre. The motives behind unmanned and autonomous ships include the shortage of skilled mariners and the facilitation of slow steaming strategies. This shall reduce the use of fuel and thus decrease ship exhaust gas emissions and operating expenses. Another motive, on which this paper will focus on, is the potential to improve navigational safety. So-called “human errors” are claimed to be responsible for the majority of accidents at sea. Thus, substituting the overtired officer of the watch by a nautical officer ashore bears potential to improve the safety of navigation.

navigational safety

unmanned ship

Autonomous ship


maritime safety


Hans-Christoph Burmeister

Wilko C. Bruhn

Ørnulf J. Rødseth

Thomas Porathe

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations

Proceedings of the Transport Research Arena, TRA 2014, 14-17 April 2014, Paris,

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics

Human Computer Interaction

Vehicle Engineering

Computer Vision and Robotics (Autonomous Systems)

More information