Delegates attending yesterday’s Maritime CEO Forum held at Singapore’s iconic Fullerton Hotel debated the future of the industry, with opinion very divided on the hot topic of ship automation.
The managing director of OSM Ship Management Steffen Tunge told participants, “People dreaming about autonomous ships, keep on dreaming it won’t happen any time soon.”
Quick to jump in on this statement was Frank Coles, the boss of tech firm Transas, who countered, “Automation, artificial intelligence and gamification will take us down a path of autonomous ships in a pretty quick manner.”
The session’s moderator, Kate Adamson, a Splash regular contributor and the founder of Futurenautics, pointed out that autonomous does not necessarily mean unmanned but automated.
Splash columnist Kris Kosmala, who is also the general Manager for Asia Pacific at software firm Quintiq, observed that in other industries linked to shipping automation is already a long way down the line with miner BHP Biliton already using autonomous trucks and another miner, Fortescue, set to debut autonomous freight trains soon. He also alluded to the recent news that BHP was using online auctions to avoid brokers.
“They are going to commoditise you,” Kosmala warned.
Turning to how regulators keep track with all the tech changes, Coles from Transas was typically blunt telling attendees, “The way technology is changing now it will be impossible for IMO to catch up and then they are dead and buried.”
A full report from the Future of Shipping session will appear in the next issue of Maritime CEO magazine.
Maritime CEO Forum is sponsored by Cobham, Dualog, DVB Bank, Gray Page, Q88, ShipServ, Transas, Veritas Petroleum Services, V.Group and Wartsila.