Forget Amazon’s plans to deliver packages via unmanned drones. Rolls-Royce is designing unmanned cargo ships. In their Alesund, Norway office, Rolls-Royce has set up a proto-type simulating a 360-degree view from a vessel’s bridge with the hopes that eventually captains on dry land will use this technology to control hundreds of crewless ships. According to Rolls-Royce, drone ships will be safer, cheaper and less polluting.
It might be the wave of the future, but there are hurdles to jump over first. Unmanned ships are currently illegal under international conventions that set minimum crew requirements. Additionally, the union representing the majority of the world’s seafarers, International Transport Workers’ Federation, is opposed to drone ships.