The future of AI in cargo ships

By NOELIA GRAHAM

Technology is rapidly expanding and will again be making its way to the high seas.

Japan is set to launch self-navigating cargo ships by 2025.

Nicknamed “smart ships” this artificial intelligence (AI) will be used to navigate the shortest, fastest and most fuel efficient sea routes. It will also be programmed to calculate malfunctions and other problems that could arise at sea.

Mitsui OSK Lines and Nippon Yusen, two Japanese shipping firms, are working with Japan Marine Unitedplan “to split costs and share expertise.¬†Developing the technology is expected to cost tens of billions of yen, or hundreds of millions of dollars, at a minimum,”¬†according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

It is planned that the first few ships will have a small crew on-board to man the vessel in case of any incidents, but the goal is to create completely autonomous ships.

But Japan isn’t the only country investing into autonomous technology for ships. Rolls-Royce which also develops ship engines announced in 2016 that by 2020 there would be unmanned cargo ships.

While the use of this technology is impressive, it’s important to consider what will happen to the many jobs that will be lost due to the complete automation of cargo ships once this AI is shared and implemented to systems all around the world.

A future led by technological innovation is our current reality. So it’s time to start considering how humans will be able to compete with machines.