Drone Ships and the Future Horizon

In the past month, I’ve been spending time reading some books – rounding out my goal of reading 52 books or more this year. One that I am inclined to recommend out of the 38 I’ve gone through this year is a historical one – “Empire of Cotton: a Global History” by Sven Beckert. It was a fascinating book that covers the impact on trade and labor that the cotton industry had on the world.

I see this as history repeating itself through new means in the information revolution that is happening now. Which ties into another great book that I read at the beginning of the year “The Industries of the Future” by Alec J. Ross – where he talks about the growth potential of the industries like robotics and cloud computing.

Seeing how things have changed in the last 15 years, I think that it is likely to expect a complete shift in how and why jobs are done in the next 15 – if many jobs are not entirely replaced by software and hardware. It is an intriguing thought – particularly since the maritime industry is becoming more and more automated.

With Rolls-Royce moving forward with their drone bridge systems and shore-based watch standers being enacted. It will be a fascinating time for the shipping industry – particularly for those who haven’t taken the time to learn how to interact with computers well. Others who spend time learning basic programming and command skills I think will have a leg up on those who have been sailing for 25 or more years who are less comfortable using computers. The younger generation will find themselves in a good position – to train on technology as it develops, rather than have learned obsolete interfaces – and have to learn entirely different ones.

Even at 31 I am between these two groups – learning technology that was in use 5 to 10 years ago and is now obsolete and replaced by in some cases much different interfaces and operational programming. I am excited to see what is coming with the next wave of shipping technology – and to see how the look-out problem for drones is going to be solved. We are just on the brink of a new era – what will the world look like after the wave passes and the horizon has changed?

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Article by Jaquie

CEO of Coeval, Inc. and a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy Class of 2008 with a degree in Maritime Operations and Technology. Currently USCG Approved Instructor. She has worked primarily on Liquefied Natural Gas Vessels completing, conventional loads and discharges, Ship to Ship transfers, commissionings, and Regasification through APL Systems and HP Manifolds. She has also worked aboard, Pure-Car Carriers, Product Tankers, General Cargo, and Bulk Grain Vessels. She currently holds an Unlimited Chief Mates Licence issued by the United States Coast Guard. With the following endorsements: Certified Person in Charge (PIC) for the transfer of Dangerous Liquids and Liquified Gas, Certified Person in Charge of Medical Care aboard ship, Lifeboatman-Fast Rescue Boats, GMDSS, Vessel Security Officer, Crowd Control and Crisis Management, Qualified Member of the Engineering Department and Jr. Engineer.