Search results

Rolls-Royce Remote-Controller Cargo Ships

Ship efficiency is the principal driver for the future as it directly impacts operating costs. There are many ways to improve it – change the vessel’s design to do its job more effectively, improve the hullform and systems to reduce fuel burn, and by optimising the transport chain of which the vessel is a part. All these factors must be evaluated together, avoiding silos of thinking to get the best results.

Rolls-Royce is looking to join the likes of Amazon's drones in the sky and Google's driver-less cars on the roads by sailing the seas with remote-controlled cargo ships.

The firm’s Blue Ocean development team designed the unmanned ship prototypes after the European Union gave 3.5 million euros ($4.8 million) to a project called Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks (MUNIN). In developing unmanned ships, the project aims to solve some of the problems of crowded European waters and increasing environmental requirements.

Rolls-Royce already has successful references for hybrid propulsion in various configurations combining mechanical and electric drive to get the lowest fuel burn in different operating modes. The use of permanent magnet motors also offers an increase in operating efficiency. The future will see other types of hybrid adding to this.

Because they have no need for crew facilities and systems like air conditioning, electricity and sewage, the drone ships would theoretically be cheaper to operate. In addition, according to a statement from Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce’s vice president of innovation, engineering and technology, the drone ships would also be safer and produce less pollution.

Wind energy on the other hand can have a more positive impact, although I’m not suggesting a return to the days of clipper ships. Calculations show that even with today’s shipping routes and service speeds, auxiliary wind power could cut fuel use by five to 30 per cent and possibly more.

Despite the potential benefits, Simon Bennett, a spokesman for the International Chamber of Shipping, spoke to Bloomberg News about the legal issues of unmanned ships. Under current international law, unmanned ships are illegal due to set minimum crew requirements.

Furthermore, e-navigation and unmanned ships are the subject of debate in the $375 billion shipping industry. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), a union that represents about 600,000 of the 1 million seafarers worldwide believes that remote-controlled drone ships would lack the skill and knowledge brought by professional seafarers.

Shipping’s approach is usually about complying to regulations in the most cost efficient way while addressing the key cost issues of fuel, finance, cargo handling and crew. They can all be influenced by holistic ship design. In the future, we must not think of a ship as a number of separate processes or systems, but as a whole where all aspects affect the other. Only by thinking the unthinkable can we truly affect costs.

“The human element is one of the first lines of defense in the event of machinery failure and the kind of unexpected and sudden changes of conditions in which the world’s seas specialize.”

© Copyright : The Point of Science 2014 - 2015 | Powered By : Blogger

Business Glossary | Health Glossary | Science Glossary | Insurance Glossary