- Reaction score
But not quite with the same result. Just stopping the propeller cold on a 12m Rhib running at 28 Kts will stop it in about 20 meters. Your T1 tanker running at 16 Kts will take anywhere from 3.5 to 5 NM to come to a stop. it's called momentum and that is where all the experience of a master or pilot comes into play: judging momentum, wind, waves and currents effect on a vessel - and knowing things like judging where you need to act in view of advance, transfer and distances to new courses. I am sure that autonomous systems can deal with those through instantaneous recognition of being "off-the-programmed-course" from things like GPS or local high precision sensors and from algorithms, but to teach remote drivers how to judge those factors takes years and years.
And BTW, if you go full autonomous, who is going to switch the engines on your container ship from light diesel to bunker and back to cover the long same speed leg in the middle of the voyage? And if you have maintainers or engineers onboard, would they trust that there is no one on the bridge?
I am not against technology, I am just saying there are many impondreables to consider here. Things like, what do you do if the steering gear decides to fail in the Suez canal? Or if the main engines crash stop in mid-Pacific?
BTW, Kirkhill, re: the Iron view helmet: I can't find it now, but a few years ago, I saw similar technology being developed for container ships. Basically, at the flip of a switch, it projected an image on the bridge windows that made it possible for the bridge personnel to seem to look through the containers and hull so they could see everything near the ship at their front. When you consider that the sight lines on a loaded container ship prevents the bridge team from seeing the first couple of nautical miles in front of them, that would be a great tool. Can't find any reference to it anymore though, and don't know how ar they got with the tech.
WRT stopping distance I think that is precisely where the autonomous aspect would show themselves. The Captain would not be the Master. The Master would be the AI ship itself. The Ship would ask the Captain for permissions and instructions.
WRT engines and fuels - why couldn't that be handled with automation? Maersk Triple Es already run with crews of 13. I think that would be a good number for a large autonomous ship. With a skeleton requirement of 4.
As to Colin's point about needing manning in some harbours ... put the bridge crew on board with the pilot. And drive the ship from here
Perhaps with one of the fancy helmets.