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Ambitious autonomous shipping project begins under UK Government

Ambitious autonomous shipping project begins under UK Government

Autonomous cars and trucks have further breakthroughs everyday, but in a world-first, the UK government has invested into an autonomous shipping project. Partnering with L3 ASV who are industry-leading when providing Autonomous Marine Systems, whose systems will be placed onto the ships that begin testing.

L3 ASV released a statement regarding a study that will be conducted with the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and Maritme and Costal Guarding Agency (MCA) which will research the future of maritime navigation and how data recorded and charts will impact the future of navigation in shipping.

Funding comes from the Department for Transport’s own T-TRIG (Transport Technology Research and Innovation Grant). They want to innovate in the technology and advance the UK’s transport systems across the board with their research.
L3 ASV’s Senior Director of Business Development, Dan Hook spoke on the matter: “Current navigational data and charts have been developed over centuries to be read and interpreted by humans.

“Today, and over the coming decade, more and more marine vessels will be operating unmanned, and the charts will be read by computers”.

Nusrat Ghani, Shipping Minister had his own say: “As we move through the 21st century, technology will continue to transform the U.K.’s world-leading maritime sector.

“Innovations such as Smart Charts pave the way for automation and Smart Shipping, and we are keen to support British companies making the most of new technologies, giving our vibrant sector a competitive edge.

“Technology and innovation are a key part of our Maritime 2050 initiative, which will set a vision for the growth and success of our maritime sector over the next 30 years.”

Product Manager of the Maritime and Costal Guarding Agency, Tim Wilkes stated: “Understanding the data requirements of autonomous vessels is going to be hugely important for the MCA if we are to continue to ensure the safety of navigation in U.K. waters to save lives and combat pollution.

“This project will help us identify some of the regulatory issues that accompany a shift to smart and autonomous shipping, and will highlight how the MCA can use its wealth of bathymetric and ship movement data to support this growing industry.”

With the investment and resources, autonomous shipping could be a possibility much sooner than we think.