When Will Autonomous Ships Arrive? A Technology Forecasting Perspective

INEC Conference 2018

11 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2018

See all articles by Carmen Kooij

Carmen Kooij

Delft University of Technology

Alina Colling

Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Maritime and Transport Technology

Christopher Benson

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Delft University of Technology

Date Written: June 6, 2018

Abstract

Autonomous ships have received significant attention in recent years. However, they are not yet widely adopted in the maritime industry yet. A wide range of predictions have been made about when the technological change will occur. This paper analyses technologies that are critical to autonomous shipping and forecasts a range of times when they will reach technical and economic viability. The researched technologies include data transfer, navigation, cargo handling, fuel cells and diesel engines. The results indicate that the GPS navigation precision required for autonomous shipping is not yet technically feasible and the expected feasibility time frame is between 2030 and 2058. The remaining technologies all show technological feasibility, but not yet economic viability. The forecasted range for economic viability of data transfer is a narrow range of 2024-2025, while cost of automated cargo handling will reach the current expense levels somewhere between 2036 and 2101.

Keywords: Technology forecasting, Autonomous shipping, unmanned ship

JEL Classification: O33, R40, O32

Suggested Citation

Kooij, Carmen and Colling, Alina and Benson, Christopher, When Will Autonomous Ships Arrive? A Technology Forecasting Perspective (June 6, 2018). INEC Conference 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3191736

Carmen Kooij (Contact Author)

Delft University of Technology ( email )

Stevinweg 1
Stevinweg 1
Delft, 2628 CN
Netherlands

Alina Colling

Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Maritime and Transport Technology

Netherlands

Christopher Benson

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Delft University of Technology ( email )

Stevinweg 1
Stevinweg 1
Delft, 2628 CN
Netherlands

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