Can unmanned ships improve navigational safety?
Paper i 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.