The shipping industry will not only employ robotics to make vessels more competitive, but there will also be a reduction in human interaction, according to speakers at London International Shipping Week (LISW) on 7 September.
Luis Benito, global maritime marketing director at Lloyd’s Register (LR) said, “Robotics will be about being able to divert technology to replace the human being to perform surveys on ships, which will be commercially more affordable.”
With LR looking into effective use of drones for surveying vessels, Benito believes this is the future. “It is a very exciting time for technology and shipping and the changes being introduced are affordable.”
The same he said of shipbuilding.
“Understanding greater work flow for the shipbuilder will revert into more benefits for the buyer,” he said.
While autonomous systems are also driving the biggest revolution in maritime and maritime security in over a century, human livelihood is yet to be fully considered.
Professor Ajit Shenoi, director at Southampton marine and maritime Institute told IHS Maritime, “The onus is on us as leaders to be very conscious of how we build systems.
“Having skilled people is as important as technology, and social attitudes will be very important.
“We are looking at it that we are not replacing humans, rather there are many tasks that are too dangerous and we are taking them out of doing those tasks,” he told IHS Maritime.
“It will be up to us to convince others of the benefits.”
The key, he said, is to innovate fast enough to deal with safety, legislation, training, and integration.
“We know we are moving towards higher levels of technology, the challenge is to rise to that and to ensure that the regulatory and legal framework will fall in place alongside the technological developments,” he said.
In support of safety first, Fai Cheng, head of strategic research at LR and contributor to the Global Marine Technology Trends 2030 report launched on 7 September said, “The aim it to remove human error and remove humans from harm.”
“The avenue is now open for less human interaction. This reduces the cognitive burden on human operators.
“For the robot it is safer. It will be able to report findings in a way that ship operators are not able to,” Fai added.