Friday, September 12, 2014

Self driving ships

There's a lot of press about self driving cars. Considering Google's involvement it's probably unavoidable. Anything Google does is news.

Self driving ships doesn't get much press, but they have to the potential to take over the sea lanes. Just like self driving cars, safety is one of the issues. 75% of all ship accidents are human caused. No doubt the insurance industries will be supporting the robot ships.

The ships can travel at a slow speed, saving fuel. No need for crews to endure long boring voyages. No need to feed and take care of them either. Space now used for crew can be used to carry cargo instead.

What could go wrong?

Computer glitches. CME's messing up satellite navigation. Pirates boarding unmanned ships. Hackers rerouting ships to new destinations. Ships rigged as giant remote bombs. No more assistance to mariners in trouble at sea. (I'm barely trying here . . . )

In spite of all potential problems, the shipping industry will want to make it happen. The financial savings are too great to ignore.

Personally, I have this image of robot ships churning through polluted seas of oil spills, plastic waste, and dead marine life. Self driving ships have no conscience.



  1. Robotic shipping is not a future I care to contemplate.
    More people put out of work because of man's greed and their worship of money...

  2. I think quite a few remote controlled train engines are already in use. No place for an engine to go, so its understandable. They are designed if a glitch occurs, the train comes to a stop.

    A remote controlled ship - hmmmm. I'd have to study on that.

    1. Ships don't run on rails. I can imagine them running over whales and small boats.

  3. Don't know how they'll get around the requirement for harbor pilots to come aboard. Robot ships, restricted maneuvering in narrow channels, congested harbors... What could go wrong? Heh... Hell even the Starship Enterprise had a crew, ha ha!

    1. I wonder if they plan to have crews just for the harbors? Yeah, what could go wrong?

  4. Maybe someday there will be no need for people. . . and then the machines will eradicate all living creatures.

  5. self driving cars would have to learn how to survive the rush hour on the freeway

    self driving sailing vessels would go nuts in most conjested harbars for nearly the same reasons

    thats why lawyers will still be in demand


    1. Who do you sue? The owner of the boat or the computer programmer?

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  7. Ouch! The thing is, we don't normally put brainless people in charge of supertankers . . . normally. There was the Exxon Valdez . . .