Smart ships to reign next decade
As new innovations and technologies take center stage in vessel building, stakeholders are optimistic that smart ships will reign within the next 10 years.
Already, a United Kingdom (UK) based power systems provider Rolls-Royce and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Limited have joined strengths in a partnership to design, test and validate the first generation of remote and autonomous ships to make such vessels a commercial reality.
The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) UK, recently said smart ships are likely to be carrying cargoes within 10 years but all in the logistics chain need to adapt in order to make good use of the new technology and the huge amount of data that will be available as a result.
President of WISTA UK, Sue Terpilowski, noted that shipping will go from a “poor beginning” in terms of generating and using data to be at the forefront of new technology driven by customer demand.
Terpilowski said that the change would see “talking” ships within 10 years as “even the paint will be able to tell you about the waves hitting the ship.”
“Ship intelligence will be the driving force that will determine the future of the industry, the type of ships at sea and the competencies requires of tomorrow’s seafarers,” she added.
According to her, legislators, ship finance and service sectors will all need to make changes to cope with the advent of the smart ship and new skills will be required from operating companies.
Technology is being developed that can be adapted to shipping operations and over the next five years Terpilowski predicts that there will be machine to machine (M2M) and the internet of things (IoT) connectivity in logistics.
Terpilowski said the major benefits would include safety, security and quality of cargo, cost effective utilisation of containers and equipment, more efficient logistics networks and infrastructure, real time tracking, monitoring and control of intermodal shipments, as well as special benefits for reefer cargoes, such as temperature control.
Although the vessels will include a high level of automation, Terpilowski said that personnel onboard would be needed, adding that “the role of the seafarer may well be transferred ashore and the skills needed to operate vessels safely and efficiently will change.”
However, Rolls-Royce said that working with VTT will allow the company to assess the performance of remote and autonomous designs through the use of both traditional model tank tests and digital simulation, allowing it to develop functional, safe and reliable prototypes.
Rolls-Royce, Vice President Ship Intelligence, Karno Tenovuo, said: “Remotely operated ships are a key development project for Rolls-Royce Marine, and VTT is a reliable and innovative partner for the development of a smart ship concept. This collaboration is a natural continuation of the earlier User Experience for Complex systems (UXUS) project, where we developed totally new bridge and remote control systems for shipping,”
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