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The Future of Unmanned Sea Vehicles

When I was a kid(which was only a couple decades ago), I used love playing with radio-controlled(RC) cars. Racing my plastic Hummer up and down the street and doing stunt-jumps off of handmade ramps. I also remember the do-it-yourself(DIY) RC crafts that people would build, from high-flying Styrofoam planes to high-speed ground-hugging cars and pool-cruising boats. It was a time when strapping together a little motor, wheels, and simple circuitry would hail you as a DIY genius(in my eyes at least). Now you would need to build a aerial drone, with a 4k camera, programming skills, and from Silicon Valley to be considered a DIY genius of the modern age. But I digress.

What brought me back to the memory of my RC days, was an article about the development of unmanned ships. Which is a forecast into the future of unmanned sea vehicles. It’s a “project, funded by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for technology and Innovation),” that will unite business partners with research institutes(Tampere University of Technology; Aalto University; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd) and ship owners to identify the factors that will need to be tackled for autonomous ships to become reality. The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Application Initiative project is led by Rolls Royce to identify the “economic, social, legal, regulatory, and technological factors” in implementation of autonomous ships, by year 2017. The AAWA initiative will also reduce the space necessary for on-board workers. Inmarsat joined the party, by providing its satellite communications systems to allow remote captains to control the unmanned ships. If all goes to plan, in the near future, fully autonomous ships which can be accessed via satellite captains, will be traversing the sea.

Final Thoughts

It is pretty cool to witness the digitizing of the modern age. We’ve seen unmanned cars, unmanned aerial drones, and unmanned marine explorers(“C-Enduro”). Now the future of seafaring commercial vehicles will get their own autonomous upgrade. Even submarines will be able to utilize this tech. It makes me imagine future ships having solar-powered panels, with built-in wind turbines, on-board robotic workers, autonomous storage systems, and security UAVs circling the ship.

Which begs the question: If you were a sea-pirate, would you attempt to steal cargo from a ship with hovering security UAVs and autonomous systems?

As always, from Around Your Screen

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