With the increasing possibilities of ICT technologies, ships will become fully connected throughout the world. This will create a wealth of opportunities in automated and autonomous vessels. Remote monitoring of vessels is already possible, allowing for condition-based maintenance. Building on the increasing automation on-board, remote operations of vessels will become possible, eventually moving towards full autonomy of vessels. The wider use of Unmanned Autonomous Vessels (UAVs) – either aerial, underwater or on surface – will increase flexibility and energy efficiency of operations.
Remote operations requires automation of all main systems on-board, and integration into a single communication channel to shore. A critical component will be the advanced navigation system, that will be able to maintain a vessel’s course, detect and adapt to changing sea and weather conditions, avoid collisions and operate the ship efficiently within specified safety parameters. The system will be flexible to allow for different levels of autonomy, depending on location, congestion, or emergencies.
Onshore control centres will be responsible for operating vessels in congested sea lanes, or in proximity to ports and terminals, and in emergency situations. These control centres will be equipped with system simulators designed to swiftly simulate scenarios including all ships involved, and facilitate human intervention.
Reliability and security of communication will be key to the success of the connected vessel.
Inland waterway transport and short-distance ferries will be early adopters of the newest technology for
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