From the first of October experiment on launching of unmanned ships into water will start in Russia. If everything goes according to plan, next year any shipping company, whose ships sail under the Russian flag, will be able to equip their vessels with autonomous navigation systems.
Work on the project to introduce unmanned navigation in Russia is being carried out since 2019. Several major domestic enterprises are involved in the process. Besides, this autumn it is planned to work out a regulatory framework regulating the use of new technology.
It is obvious that the project is being implemented at an accelerated pace, and there are good reasons for that. The point is that it is not only Russia that is working on unmanned navigation. China, Britain, Japan, the USA, and other leading countries have their own developments.
A sufficient number of concepts have been created, but no one has a complete drone yet. At the same time, there is no doubt that the first country, which will achieve success in this industry, will get an undeniable economic advantage.
Russia, as usual, has gone its own way. Instead of creating expensive drones from scratch, Kronstadt has developed a universal automated control system that can be installed on an existing ship. The latter makes it possible to control any ship from the command desk onshore.
Specialized electronics and cameras installed on the ship collect all necessary information from the ship’s instruments, recognize surrounding objects, and warn about possible navigation obstacles. In the event of a dangerous situation, the system provides the captain with the best maneuver option or suggests taking over the ship’s control.
All this is already very close to full autonomy, which is very pleasing. However, the question arises: what will happen to people when the drones appear?
The point is that today domestic shipping companies have an acute shortage of qualified personnel, and autonomous ships could solve this problem. At the same time, people will not suffer in any way, because the automation of navigation implies the presence of operators on the shore, who will work in comfortable and, most importantly, safe conditions.