Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is touting what it thinks could be the future of shipping on the high seas. The company has been working on a design for drone ships that ditch the crew so they can carry more cargo and cut expenses. The ships would be controlled by sensors and a captain that sits in a remote VR cockpit on land that shows them what they would see standing on the deck of a ship.
The firm says that the drone ships would not only be cheaper to operate, but they would be safer and less polluting as well. The idea is to get rid of the bridge and all systems that are needed to support a living crew and replace that with more space for cargo.
By eliminating the crew on the ships, the company thinks it could cut 40% of the costs of a cargo shipment right away. The drone ship would have redundant systems like an aircraft and would be able to continually monitor itself to improve efficiency. Supporters of human-crewed vessels say that nothing can replace the eyes and thought processes of humans aboard a ship in the ocean.
The remote-controlled ships could be ready to sail the seas in the next decade.