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HELSINKI Scott Laughton Jersey , April 10 (Xinhua) - The Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT has recently teamed up with Rolls Royce to study the potential of unmanned shipping operations.
According to VTT research scientist Hannu Karvonen, although the project is in its initial stages, the Finnish researchers are very much interested in applying unmanned and remote operations to the shipping industry.
"Remote shipping operations can reduce crew costs and address fuels costs so there are a lot of benefits. Safety is also an issue," said Oskar Levander, Vice President for Innovation with the global power systems company Rolls Royce.
Rolls Royce estimates that up to 30 percent of a vessel's operational costs are spent on the crew. Fuel accounts for more than 50 percent. Since shipping accounts for 90 percent of global trade traffic Sean Couturier Jersey , reining in these elements would significantly impact on efficiency, resulting in knock-on effects for the shipping industry, merchants and consumers.
"We are looking at real world situations and critical environments where we can improve safety, utility and human satisfaction," Karvonen said.
According to Rolls Royce's Levander the technology already exists to apply remote control and unmanned operations to shipping Travis Konecny Jersey , but the world won't see drone ships for at least another 10 years at minimum - mainly because of the current legal and regulatory systems.
"The current rules and maritime law means that we cannot operate unmanned vessels. Hence we are going public to stimulate debate with the International Maritime Organization, the flag states and other stakeholders," Levander added.
Some industry players view the prospect of an unmanned bridge with some caution, citing safety concerns. Others have pointed to the likely fallout on jobs in the industry.
According to Levander most shipping accidents involve the human element. He pointed out that automated systems can identify threats and diagnose problems, while monitoring and preventive maintenance coupled with backup systems can promote safety.
Concerns about the total elimination of the human factor from shipping are unfounded at this stage Ivan Provorov Jersey , he added.
"Unmanned operations are mostly suited to non-hazardous cargo ships. Other vessels such as passenger ships, ferries, large tankers and LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) carriers, patrol and fishing vessels will still require crews," he noted.
He also pointed out that seafarers will evolve to operate vessels remotely Jakub Voracek Jersey , allowing them to do the work for which they were trained rather than the administrative duties that currently consume much of their attention.
The drive towards the efficient use of human and shipping resources will also have positive knock-on effects in other areas such as mitigating shipping's environmental impact.
"No crew means no accommodation and no electricity, resulting in greater fuel efficiency. Apart from the reduction in emissions there'll be no sewage or other waste to dispose of," Levander added.
Rolls Royce is advocating a phased roadmap towards fully unmanned operations that would begin with partial remote functions and eventually culminate in the crewless vessel of the future.
Levander compared the evolution of shipping to the aviation industry, where "20 years ago systems weren't as developed", but where systems became more automated and reliable than in the past.
If that is the case Shayne Gostisbehere Jersey , then it will likely be a case of smooth sailing for tomorrow's unmanned vessels.
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