SMART SHIPPING :
Smart shipping term is new but is fast becoming familiar within the industry. Smart technologies are making great impacts on Shipping industry. Far from being something out of science fiction, ships with no people on board could soon become a reality. In few years smart ships will move across the oceans and that ships will deliver the cargo faster and safer.
How technology is shaping the world of shipping :
Artificial intelligence :-
Global IT technology is at stage where computers and automation system are becoming more intelligent. This takes machine learning into different directions and applications that will enable autonomous surface vessels to navigate without human interaction. Intelligence is required for vessel computers to understand the environment and maritime conditions they encounter.
Internet of things :-
IoT primarily consists of a GPS and a cloud-based database which stores all the data collected by devices on the ship. IoT also connects the sensors, robots and other devices through a wireless network. The advantage of using IoT is that, since it keeps track of all devices and shipments, the shipping industry will be able to provide better customer service. It can provide customers with information about the location, time of arrival and delay in the shipment. IoT is, hence, a highly anticipated technological solution to management problems on the ship.
This process technology will revolutionise supply chain logistics and cargo trade over maritime routes. It is enabled by growth in digital currencies as methods of procuring products and trading cargo. This will develop from a fledgling industry process towards a mainstream method of transacting in maritime and global supply chains.
There will be growing recognition that blockchain processes can improve cyber security in maritime transactions, even with future developments in cloud computing and machine learning. Blockchain and digital currencies enable secure computer-to-computer transactions that may minimise the intervention of humans in these processes.
Drones are quickly becoming a regular tool in the maritime industry, although developed for government and military operations. Drones can safely go where humans can’t. Improving safety, reducing costs, speeding up processes and making access challenges a breeze, are just a handful of the benefits of using drones in the maritime industry. It can be typically operated by one person without any extensive safety equipment, meaning the costs associated can be significantly reduced.
Drones can provide information to surveyors from difficult-to-reach areas on ships and offshore structures and it can be flown to the inspection point, and with a high definition video feedback to the control centre, not only does this mitigate any risk, it is also far quicker.
Drones can also be used for delivering parcels to ships close to coastlines and navigating in ice conditions to provide more information to masters. Drones are only one small part of the bigger puzzle in helping transform and disrupt the maritime industry.
Innovative robots in maritime industry :
Machines have made our lives more easier and better. All industries are showing more interest in robots. The day is not so far when robots will carry out several important jobs both at sea and on shore. There are some robotic technology that will be the part of shipping industry, they are as follow :
1. Fire Fighter Robots:
Shipboard Autonomous Fire Fighting Robot (SAFFiR), developed by Naval Research Laboratory in collaboration with Virginia Tech and other US universities, is an autonomous humanoid robot capable of detecting and suppressing shipboard fires and working shoulder to shoulder with human firefighters using advanced sensors.
The idea is not to replace humans in firefighting but to aid them in firefighting operations on ships. In the case of fire on ships, these robots would perform tasks such as turning valves, picking up and dragging fire hoses, and putting water on fire.The firefighting robot has a vision system to search for survivors and can withstand heat up to 500 degree Celsius.The robots can respond to gesture and commands, and its sensor package includes a camera and gas sensor.
2. Hull Cleaning Robots :
An innovative hull cleaning robot namely “HullBUG” has been developed by Sea Robotics and funded by U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR) to tackle this issue. With increasing consciousness for green shipping, technologies that help in higher fuel efficiency and reductions of carbon-dioxide emissions are in great demand.
Hull roughness management using hull cleaning robots can play a vital role in this regard. The hull reduces the ship’s speed by up to 10%. The developer of the robot estimates that, if these robots are put into practice, there can be 5% improvement in fuel efficiency through proactive grooming, translating into a savings of $15 billion annually for the shipping industry worldwide and reduction in 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases emitted by the fleet.
3. Robot Ship Inspectors:
Ship Inspection robots is a robotic technology which can help in this process and also save time and money for owners, improving the accuracy and quality of these important inspections. These robots can be controlled via a wireless transmitter with live video feed and its four infrared distance sensors help in detecting edges and obstacles. Similarly, MINOAS (Marine Inspection Robotic Assistant System) and INCAAS (Inspection Capabilities for Enhanced Ship Safety) are EU-funded projects which aim to support the inspection process of large marine vessels by using robotics system.
4. Anti-Piracy Robots:
The dumbbell-sized robot can be fired from cannon within 5 seconds and can survive throws up to 120 feet. Its magnetic wheels help it to crawl on the ship’s hull before it reaches the deck. It can be controlled by joystick from the nearby command center. The robots can keep eye on piracy activities using its cameras that can see even in darkness using infrared camera.
Like the industry revolution in 20th century, we now are going through technology revolution. Shipping can not remain untouched by technology revolution and why not? technology is promising for better way of operation of ships, handling cargo in terms of commercial, efficiency and safety. But there is word of caution, shipping involves and deals with adverse and unpredictable weather and sea conditions and operates heavy machinaries. Therefore, moving towards smart shipping has to be gradual to avoid unpleasant surprises.