The next revolution in cargo will be the container ship drone
Look, ma, no hands. Reuters/Michael KoorenNow, the British engineering group Rolls Royce wants unmanned, remote-controlled ships to transport freight and goods across the seas.“The idea of a remote-controlled ship is not new, it has been around for decades but the difference is the technology now exists,” Rolls Royce’s head of marine innovation Oskar Levander, told the FT in an interview (paywall). ”It is happening in other industries so it is only logical that it should happen in marine.”
When it comes to predictions about the adoption of new transformative products, technologists have been repeatedly and spectacularly wrong. But that’s usually due to them being too conservative, rather than unduly optimistic. That’s as good a reason as any to believe the drone hype.
Still, there are plenty of hurdles that need to be cleared before drones can crack the mainstream. There’s a long list of reasons why it will be difficult for unmanned aerial drones to be used for residential product deliveries (especially by 2015, which is Amazon’s hopeful start date), including prohibiti
This is a very interesting concept that up to recently I hadn't even considered. Modern containerships are crewed by as few as 14 people. Crews of this size, coupled with very large ships and short port time durations, make duty on a container ship difficult at best. its lonely, isolated duty. A drone container ship would likely be a practical solution to normal steaming conditions, but what about when you re dealing with pirates off Somalia? or the Straits of Malacca, or there is some other emergency that hazards either the vessel or the environment that needs the judgement and action of men?
A containership is one thing...but what if a 500,000 barrel supertanker were robotically controlled? Technically possible? Probably? A good idea? I think not.