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Crewless Container Ships Appear on the Horizon

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The Yara Birkeland.

Eventually will navigate aided by sensors, including radar and cameras, which will feed data to an artificial intelligence, which will detect and classify waterborne obstacles.

Credit: James Brooks

The Norwegian container ship Yara Birkeland eventually will become a crewless vessel that navigates via radar and cameras, feeding sensor data to artificial intelligence that will detect and identify obstacles in the water.

Its captain will remotely monitor the ship at a land-based facility more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) off, ready to intervene if necessary.

Norway-based Kongsberg is providing technology for the Yara Birkeland and two other autonomous barges in the Oslo Fjord.

The University of South-Eastern Norway's Marius Tannum said unmanned vessels should be backed up by human monitors, with crews remaining on board for a transitional period.

Tannum expects autonomous shipping's momentum to overtake that of autonomous vehicles, because crewless vessels "with a fixed route and a remote operation center [ROC] will be operating with less risk than unmanned autonomous trucks driving in regular traffic."

From BBC News
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