The Rolls-Royce Blue Ocean team has announced a new collaborative research project looking to produce the designs and operating systems needed to make the concept of unmanned or remote controlled ships a reality.
The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative will bring together academics, ship designers, equipment manufacturers, and classification bodies to explore the economic, social, legal, regulatory and technological factors to be considered before autonomous ships are able to set sail.
The project is expected to be completed in 2017, however some preliminary designs of the unmanned ships have already been published.
The team, led by Rolls Royce, will combine new technologies with alternative approaches to ship design and system integration. Its aim is to develop automated on-board decision systems, to be controlled by a remote operator from land-based control stations.
The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative will build upon the European Commission funded Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks (MUNIN) initiative. Both Rolls-Royce and MUNIN claim such unmanned shipping solutions expect to be will be more efficient, sustainable and safer than current shipping vessels.
Image Credit: Rolls-Royce / flickr