Safety of Unmanned Ships - Safe Shipping with Autonomous and Remote Controlled Ships

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School of Engineering | D4 Julkaistu kehittämis- tai tutkimusraportti tai -selvitys
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88 + app. 10
Aalto University publication series SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY, 5/2017
The main objective of this study is to identify and initially assess relevant safety and security risks with the operation of a general ship under remote or autonomous control, and some selected vessel types chosen for concept level consideration. A focal research question is whether the operations on board a ship can be changed still more towards the directions of automation and/or teleoperation from the safety point of view. The platform of this study is a generic ship. Thus, for the reason of clarity, a review on some common ship type categories is also made, with cargo ships, passenger ships and service vessels included. According to the first, albeit unuttered hypothesis, some sub-category of the ship types listed above may, under some conditions, have some potential for development towards technology demonstration trials and applications in future. However, it is possible, too, that just a few sub-categories of the ship types, or some additional newcomer, may be the most promising platform for the first applications of ship autonomy and tele-operation, in case they are considered feasible and safe for it under certain specified conditions. The research has been based mainly on a review of research literature related to autonomous or remotely operated vessel concepts, and discussions between the authors regarding the implications of the further application of the new technology in selected ship types. The discussions have been supported by the preliminary risk assessment performed by the authors exploring the potential safety implications of increased autonomy on some ship types considered as being conceivable candidates for proof-of-concept demonstrations. Finally, the report provides some high-level recommendations for the early phase of the progress and development of ships with an increased prevalence or share of autonomous or remote control features. The most fundamental limitations of this report are believed to be related to omissions of most economical, ethical, legal, psychological and sociological aspects and viewpoints from the scope of the study, especially with their links and intertwinements with safety and each other. Even some issues related to technology may have not been discussed widely and deeply enough e.g. from the operational point of view. It is believed, that such interacting features and mechanics may have important links to and effects on safety with regard to the studied topic. Thus, they are deemed to deserve closer scrutiny in future. (Author abstract: Risto Jalonen / 21.9.2017) 
autonomous shipping, safety, security, risk
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