Developing Issues with Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships
Almost every maritime nation is engaged in developing autonomous vessel technologies, and several countries have designated parts of their national waters as test sites for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships. The author of this article discusses the International Maritime Organization’s initiative to regulate autonomous vessels.
The development of large autonomous merchant vessels, also known as Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (“MASS”), has progressed at a significant pace with new vessels entering operation every year. Almost every maritime nation is engaged in developing autonomous vessel technologies, and several countries have designated parts of their national waters as test sites for MASS.
In Norway, the YARA BIRKELAND recently began a two-year testing period of the technology that will certify the vessel as an autonomous, all-electric container ship. In Japan, the first tests of the fully autonomous container ships MIKAGE and SUZAKU took place recently in coastal waters of the Sea of Japan and Tokyo Bay. The unmanned ships transited between ports using a system of radar and lidar sensors, cameras, and a satellite compass to navigate and pulled themselves into berths at the end of their journeys.
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“Developing Issues with Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships,” by Alan M. Weigel was published in the September–October 2022 edition of RAIL: The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law (Vol. 5, No. 5), a Fastcase, Inc. publication. Reprinted with permission.
This article was first published in the March 2022 edition of Mainbrace, Blank Rome’s quarterly maritime newsletter.