Drones are already patrolling the skies, and eventually Rolls-Royce wants to see them take over the seas too. According to Bloomberg, Rolls-Royce Holdings is developing unmanned cargo ships that can be remotely controlled by captains using a virtual-reality recreation of a vessel’s bridge. Development on the ships began last year, and it expects the unmanned ships to eventually offer a safer, cleaner, and less-expensive option for moving cargo.
“Now the technology is at the level where we can make this happen, and society is moving in this direction,” Oskar Levander, a marine engineering and technology executive at Rolls-Royce, tells Bloomberg. “If we want marine to do this, now is the time to move.”
While now may be Rolls-Royce’s time to start moving, it’s far from the time when these ships will set sail. As Bloomberg points out, there are quite a few regulatory and financial hurdles in the way of unmanned vessels, including international minimum crew requirements and an ineligibility for being insured by major providers.
And, as when it comes to self-driving cars taking over the roads, there are already plenty of concerns about what could go wrong when humans are removed from the picture.
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