Recently, Kongsberg Maritime from Norway announced the launch of work on the world's first automated cargo ship commissioned by YARA Porsgrunn Corporation. The vessel will be used to automatically transport the company's products. This ship will not need a command, and it can be safely called the world's first unmanned robot-ship.
The elements of automatic control will be integrated into all systems of the new vessel, including electric drive, batteries, navigation and motion control systems. The launch is scheduled for completion in 2018. The first stage of the tests will be carried out under the control of a small crew, in 2019 the ship will begin to transport in a semi-automatic mode, and beginning in 2020 the ship will begin to walk completely without a crew. The swimming robot ship, according to the company's plans, will carry out freight services equivalent to 40,000 haulage on trucks, which will significantly relieve the mains. One of the main programs under the management of which the future ship will operate is AUTOSEA. It includes a mass of sensors and software to ensure the safety and prevent collisions of vessels on the water.
At the moment, only a few companies in the world are engaged in developments in the field of automated shipping. In addition to Kongsberg Maritime, it is worth noting the well-known concern Rolls-Royce, received this year a grant for research from the agency Tekes. Within the framework of the project, Rolls-Royce is to develop an infrastructure of ground control centers for ships and an artificial intelligence system for controlling and directly controlling the robots themselves.