Categories: a-port-information, BusinessPublished On: 31.07.2019423 words2.1 min read

A roundtable event organised by Thales, ‘Charting a course to autonomy – what is the future of the UK maritime industry?’ discussed the many challenges and future prospects of using AI and autonomous ships. Our reporter sums up the key takeaways.

AI and autonomy are disrupting every sector including the maritime industry. However, it’s no secret that it comes with its fair share of challenges – whether it’s the high costs involved or the infancy of the concept.

During the roundtable event, moderated by Victor Chavez, the chief executive of Thales, autonomous ships – in the commercial sector as well as naval realm – were the focus of discussion. This included ensuring safety, getting adequate talent and funding and adhering to government regulations. The panel discussed the ongoing trends and innovations in the sector and looked at what the future holds for using autonomy in ships. Here are the five key takeaways from the event.

1) Autonomy is now a necessity for the maritime industry to “remain relevant”

While people have been talking about what autonomy might mean in the maritime industry for a few years, it has now become a necessity for the sector to progress. As James Fanshawe, chair of the UK’s maritime autonomous systems regulatory group puts it: “90% of trade by volume comes into the UK through the sea and making sure that trade can move around the world safely is something we must focus on. Autonomy will be critical in the future and in developing the maritime industry so that it remains relevant for the next 50 years. ”

Fanshawe detailed that for those entering the sector, it was necessary to see whether autonomy could be the answer to the many shipping woes. “The industry was quite a slow burner as a lot of people wanted to wait until other people went further down the track to see what opportunities this really presented,” he said at the roundtable.

According to Fanshawe three main areas which will leverage the autonomous technology the most would be the marine scientific research industry, the oil and gas industry and defence. Given how much man-power is needed to operate the ships, it’s obvious now it would be ideal to automise them. It won’t need anyone to give instructions about where to go. “The gradual capabilities of the sensors and its ability to be integrated together is one of those areas of trying to be clever with technology,” he said.

2) With autonomy comes the need for cybersecurity . . . . . . 

Read the full article on the Ship Technology website