Really? An autonomous boat will soon emerge. For the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about autonomous (self-driving) cars. We never came across anything before about boats getting to the promised land first. Maybe, you have.
Is This Realistic? An Autonomous Boat Will Soon Emerge
According to Christopher Mims, writing for the Wall Street Journal, the answer is yes. Here’s why:
“Our oceans, even our inland waterways, are a vastly underutilized asset, the pioneers of robot ships argue. We could utilize them more, as well as do so in cleaner and more efficient ways. If we borrow from the way we successfully used robots to explore other places relatively free of obstacles. Such as outer space. After all, ships that wouldn’t have to protect humans from a harsh marine environment won’t need pilothouses, bunks, flat decks—or bathrooms.”
“For UK-based Sea-Kit International, eliminating humans on its vessel means it can do with a 12-meter-long ship what would normally require a crewed one 60 meters long. The difference in size means a drastic reduction in fuel consumption. Sea-Kit’s vessel consumes roughly 1/100th of a comparable crewed one.”
“The three-year-old startup, winner of the 2019 Shell Ocean Discovery XPrize, will soon deliver two vessels for underwater surveys. They’re not fully autonomous. While they’re monitored remotely by a human, they operate without a crew aboard. Also, they navigate independently from one waypoint to another.”
In the following image, one of the autonomous Sea-Kit vessels moves out of a harbor. The photo is by ENP Media.