The next race for autonomous vehicles? Self-driving boats

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Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years - but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the car industry's race to build driverless vehicles, marine innovators are building automated ferry boats for Amsterdam canals, cargo ships that can steer themselves through Norwegian fjords and remote-controlled ships to carry containers across the Atlantic and Pacific. The first such autonomous ships could be in operation within three years. One experimental workboat spent this summer dodging tall ships and tankers in Boston Harbor, outfitted with sensors and self-navigating software and emblazoned with the words "UNMANNED VESSEL" across its aluminum hull. "We're in full autonomy now," said Jeff Gawrys, a marine technician for Boston startup Sea Machines Robotics, sitting at the helm as the boat floated through a harbor channel.


Self-driving boats: The next tech transportation race

Boston Herald

Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years - but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the car industry's race to build driverless vehicles, marine innovators are building automated ferry boats for Amsterdam canals, cargo ships that can steer themselves through Norwegian fjords and remote-controlled ships to carry containers across the Atlantic and Pacific. The first such autonomous ships could be in operation within three years. One experimental workboat spent this summer dodging tall ships and tankers in Boston Harbor, outfitted with sensors and self-navigating software and emblazoned with the words "UNMANNED VESSEL" across its aluminum hull. "We're in full autonomy now," said Jeff Gawrys, a marine technician for Boston startup Sea Machines Robotics, sitting at the helm as the boat floated through a harbor channel.


Self-driving ships could be ready in three years

Los Angeles Times

Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years -- but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the auto industry's race to build driverless vehicles, marine innovators are building automated ferry boats for Amsterdam canals, cargo ships that can steer themselves through Norwegian fjords and remote-controlled ships to carry containers across the Atlantic and Pacific. The first such autonomous ships could be in operation within three years. One experimental workboat spent this summer dodging tall ships and tankers in Boston Harbor, outfitted with sensors and self-navigating software and emblazoned with the words "unmanned vessel" across its aluminum hull. "We're in full autonomy now," said Jeff Gawrys, a marine technician for Boston startup Sea Machines Robotics, sitting at the helm as the boat floated through a harbor channel.


Rolls-Royce Envisions Robot Cargo Ships By "End of the Decade"

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While it may seem that Rolls-Royce is purely a luxury car company, it has been cooking up something completely unexpected: remote-controlled cargo ships. The Rolls-Royce led Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) has presented its vision at the Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium 2016 in Amsterdam of how remote and autonomous shipping can become a reality. The company is working on virtual decks where land-based crews would control every aspect of the ship. Additionally, there will also be VR camera views and monitoring drones to spot issues humans cannot. Therefore, only requiring one human to steer several boats.


Maersk Tankers tests wind-driven rotor sails in bid to cut fuel bills

The Japan Times

COPENHAGEN – Maersk Tankers is testing the use of wind power to fuel its ships, a new technology it says can cut fuel consumption by up to 10 percent and help the industry reduce polluting emissions. The move comes as the global shipping industry is suffering from rising oil prices and preparing for fuel costs to rise further by around a quarter, or some $24 billion, in 2020 when new rules limiting sulfur kick in. The company has installed two 30-meter-tall metal cylinders on board the Maersk Pelican, a Long Range 2 (LR2) product tanker vessel. The cylinders, or rotor sails, work as mechanical sails that spin to propel the vessel forward. The Maersk Pelican was to depart Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Thursday for a test journey.