Unmanned aerial vehicles, more popularly known as drones these days, have become quite common. Rolls-Royce is now readying unmanned cargo ships along the same lines.
These unmanned cargo ships will be controlled by captains with the help of a virtual simulation of the ship’s bridge. Now that we have aerial machines which can fly when being controlled remotely, it isn’t very far-fetched to assume that cargo ships can be unmanned and remote-controlled as well.
The company started working on such ships last year. According to a technology executive at Rolls-Royce, Oskar Levander, “Now the technology is at the level where we can make this happen, and society is moving in this direction. If we want marine to do this, now is the time to move.”
Rolls-Royce is very hopeful that this will eventually help create ships which are far more affordable, more environment-friendly and a lot safer than the current sea vessels. However, the company will have to resolve a number of problems before an actual unmanned ship can be lowered into the sea.
The major hurdles that stand in the way are regulatory. Not only do local authorities need to go through the concept and okay it, but the international community will have to be on board as well. Rolls Royce seems cognizant of this and is ready to resolve the issues. On the other hand, the company claims that the unmanned cargo ships will be 5% lighter and will consume 12% to 15% less fuel. Moreover, with no crew on board, the operating costs of cargo companies will drop very significantly.
However, at this point, we can safely assume that it will be many years before Rolls Royce is able to realize its vision of such unmanned ships.