Human error causes many maritime accidents. One possible solution to this problem is autonomous technology.
How can autonomous technology reduce maritime accidents and injuries?
How autonomous technology can help
Human limitations in situational awareness and perception cause many at-sea accidents. Autonomous technology can not replace the experience and training of professional mariners, but it can help mariners make better decisions. Autonomous technology may also be better able to address safety issues, such as providing visibility in blind spots or monitoring conditions at times when the noise from loud equipment may make it difficult for the crew to hear sound signals.
Regulators may need to change regulations to account for the introduction of autonomous technology. For example, regulators may want to change regulations to require ship owners to implement autonomous technology that can make vessels safer.
Regulations may also need to address how to define employees. For example, they may need to consider whether to define shore-based operators of remote control technology as seafarers and who is responsible when there is an accident that involves an autonomous vessel.
Additionally, crew members’ jobs will change. For example, ship masters may move from physically monitoring conditions to overseeing automated systems. The introduction of technology may eliminate some jobs while also freeing up the crew to take on new responsibilities.
Autonomous technology provides maritime companies with new opportunities to make ships safer. However, it also introduces new challenges. Regulators, companies and crew members must adapt to the new technology and learn how to best utilize it to reduce accidents and increase efficiency.