Recently I have discussed the application of different technologies to help revolutionize the international shipping industry: neural nets, artificial intelligence, block chain, alternative fuels, etc. The next discussion to highlight is the application of these technologies towards one of their logical applications… Autonomous Shipping
A few days ago, CNBC’s Lora Kolodny reported that Amazon is going to start testing autonomous trucking to move goods in Arizona through a self-driving company named Embark. “Embark and other firms working on autonomous systems — including fellow start-ups such as Ike, Thor Trucks and Pronto.ai, and major players such as Alphabet's Waymo and Tesla — aim to alleviate industry pains by making existing truck drivers safer and more efficient.”
However, trucking is not the only way in which autonomous shipping is being applied. In the August 2018, CBInsights reported that Samsung & Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the development of autonomous, self-driving ships, that would be enabled through AWS’s ability to “incorporate machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, analytics, databases, and storage into its smart shipping platform.” At the same time, CBInsights reported that Kongsberg purchased Rolls Royce’s autonomous shipping division for $660M and then partnered with Wilhelmsen to “become a leader in autonomous shipping. The company partnered with shipping supplier Wilhelmsen to start a new autonomous shipping venture dubbed “Massterly” in Spring 2018.”
With these highlights it can be expected that autonomous shipping will be in our futures. While not available today, these technologies represent obvious opportunities in terms of operational efficiencies, safety and data analytics to improve the logistics supply chain. This is a technology that we will keep an eye on—both on land and on water—to see how it disrupts the industries current standard for doing business.