Research & Innovation

Rolls-Royce to Develop Drone Cargo Ships

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Rolls-Royce to Develop Drone Cargo Ships

Rolls-Royce to Develop Drone Cargo Ships
February 26
12:11 2014

Rolls-Royce has confirmed that they are designing enormous cargo ships that would be completely unmanned.

The design and implementation of the plan is in the hands of Rolls-Royce’s Blue Ocean development team and, according to Bloomberg, will reduce costs significantly while also doing less harm to the environment.

It is envisioned that to control the ships, a crew similar to the one that would traditionally be on a ship will be based on land where they will control every aspect of the giant tanker.

According to Rolls-Royce, the shipping industry, currently totalling US$395bn and accounting for 90pc of all world trade, will be potentially put into use in the coming decade with the Baltic Sea being seen as one of the first to use the drone service.

Traditionally, the cost of running a crew with expenses like heating, lighting, food and sewage would remove 44pc of a ship’s running cost as well as making the ship 5pc lighter and more fuel efficient by approximately 12 – 14pc.

Unsurprisingly, the trade unions that represent sailors and crews of cargo ships are not happy with the news and one spokesperson has said that the idea is unfeasible and will never be able to replace a human crew.

In an emailed statement by the chairperson of the ITF’s seafarer section, Dave Heindel, said: “It cannot and will never replace the eyes, ears and thought processes of professional seafarers.

“The human element is one of the first lines of defence in the event of machinery failure and the kind of unexpected and sudden changes of conditions in which the world’s seas specialise. The dangers posed to the environment by unmanned vessels are too easily imagined.”

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