Rolls-Royce Plans New Drones – Cargo Ships

In a new era of aerial drones and cars without drivers, Rolls-Royce unveils its decision to produce unmanned cargo ships.

Rolls-Royce is working on a prototype of a drone freighter ship. Photo: Rolls-Royce Holdings

The luxurious car maker has set up a virtual-reality prototype at its office in Alesund, Norway, that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge.

As Bloomberg writes, the London manufacturer of engines and turbines reveals that captains on dry land are planned to use similar control centers to command hundreds of ships which will operate without human help.

Rolls-Royce believes that drone ships is safer, cheaper and less polluting means for the $375 billion shipping industry that carries 90 percent of world trade.

Some sources suppose that the vehicle car maker plans to deploy the novelty in regions such as the Baltic Sea within next ten years.

However, regulatory hurdles and industry and union skepticism about cost and safety are expected to become significant obstacles to setting the drones worldwide, said Oskar Levander, the company’s vice president of innovation in marine engineering and technology.

“Now the technology is at the level where we can make this happen, and society is moving in this direction,” Levander said by phone last month. “If we want marine to do this, now is the time to move.”

It’s not a suprise that the union representing most of the world’s maritime workers is dead-set against the idea.

“It cannot and will never replace the eyes, ears, and thought processes of professional seafarers,” says an official with the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

Let’s remember that Google is also fond of driver-less technologies. Thus, for example, Google has been testing its robot vehicle on public roads since 2010, always with a human in the driver’s seat who can take over if necessary.

Google’s autonomous Prius and Lexus cars are much more safer than cars driven by humans, the leader of Google’s autonomous-car project claims.

During a robotics conference in California Chris Urmson told reporters that the company’s self-driving cars appeared to be smoother and safer than cars driven by professional drivers, Mashable claims.

He said: “We’re spending less time in near-collision states. Our car is driving more smoothly and more safely than our trained professional drivers.”

He proved his words by presenting results from two studies which examined data from Google’s cars on public roads in California and Nevada. The sudies showed that when a man was behind the wheel, Google’s cars accelerated and braked significantly more sharply than they did when driving themselves.

Which is more, the cars’ software also appeared to be better at keeping a safe distance between vehicles than human drivers could, The Telegraphwrites.

In one test, a Google autonomous car was hit by another one and the car’s used an annotated map of the surroundings which proved what happened.

Urmson added: “We don’t have to rely on eyewitnesses that can’t act be trusted as to what happened — we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn’t paying enough attention. The data will set you free.”

In addition describing extra-ordinary capabalities of Google robot cars, Urmson demonstrated a new dashboard display that his group has developed to show people what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over.

“Inside the car we’ve gone out of our way to make the human factors work,” he said.

And though that might suggest the Internet searching giant is thinking about how to translate its research project into something used by real motorists, the leader of the project dodged a question about how that might happen.

“We’re thinking about different ways of bringing it to market,” he said. “I can’t tell you any more right now.”

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