Αυτόνομα εμπορικά πλοία: εξέταση των κυριότερων πλεονεκτημάτων και των μεγαλύτερων προκλήσεων για την ναυτιλιακή βιομηχανία
Over the last decade, continuous research in the design of autonomous merchant vessels has revealed some positive results, which make it possible for them to be implemented in the near future. The expected benefits associated with the operation of the autonomous vessels are mainly the removal of crews from them, which can contribute positively both to reducing their operating costs and minimizing marine casualties. However, skepticism about unmanned ships exists, and therefore requires such ships to be at least as safe as those already in place. Automation is not a panacea, as it tends to create new human weaknesses and to strengthen some of the existing ones. The present paper, after a brief reference to the operation of autonomous vessels, deals with the findings of some scientific studies, examining the economic, environmental and social benefits, as well as the relevant operational, regulatory and quality challenges arising from the development of such ships in the near future.