The ABS Advisory on Autonomous Functionality addresses the application of autonomous functions in the maritime and offshore industries, the infrastructure enabling the implementation of these functions and developments on the regulatory front in the journey to autonomy.
An autonomous ship is a marine vessel with sensors, automated navigation, propulsion and auxiliary systems, with the necessary decision logic to follow mission plans, sense the environment, adjust mission execution according to the environment, and potentially operate without human intervention. The concept of the autonomous ship is accelerating globally, primarily driven by governments.
The journey from automated to autonomous is complicated, but logical. As vessels adapt to more sensors, health and performance monitoring, and performance optimization, they will become smart assets.
These vessels rely on quality, security and integrity of data, overall system cyber security and operational software. They can be unmanned, or controlled remotely from off-board control centers.
Autonomous technology is gradually reshaping the maritime industry bringing benefits such as increased operational efficiency, human error reduction, emission reduction, increased safety, and operational cost reduction. Regulation, engineering and culture all present challenges as significant as the development of technology itself. ABS is currently collaborating with members, industry and regulators on autonomous vessel design, risk management and implementation.