After many tests of autonomous navigation, the first ships without crew members are ready to set sail and begin to serve next October.
This type of autonomous vessel has been developed mainly for the transport of river, and coastal cargo and according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) it has been working continuously since 2017 to guarantee that this type of vessel has a safe operation. Through constant evaluation of the various electronic devices that make autonomy a reality, such as in the implementation of international regulations, autonomous ships are a reality that is not only limited to their innovation since ports must also be prepared to meet this type of boat.
At the moment, the pioneering countries in this matter are China, Norway, and Japan, focusing their development on autonomous maritime surface ships (MASS), considering that an autonomous ship is a ship that can navigate without depending on human interaction. However, there are 4 types of autonomy for these boats: The first refers to those that have a crew, but their navigation system has automated processes that help in decision-making. Second, are ships that have seafarers on board, but the vessel is remotely controlled. Third, are those ships that are remotely controlled and have no crew on board. While the last type of ship is those 100% autonomous, capable of making decisions and determining actions by itself.
Whatever the degree of autonomy of these vessels, they must all be equipped to a lesser or greater extent with various technological tools such as: the internet, GPS, big data, artificial intelligence, IOT, sensors, robotics, and different software and hardware that will not only allow the navigation but its constant development.
It should be noted that this type of innovation will have a direct impact on the workforce of seafarers since although the ships will not have a crew on board, this type of development will always generate new jobs, only that they will be different, they will imply less physical strength and greater technological skills, but we will see the direction it takes as these changes become irreversible.