As the world gears up for driverless cars, the shipping industry is working to adopt similar technology — with the hope that replacing traditional crewed vessels with autonomous ones might help prevent collisions at sea, smooth the flow of traffic in congested ports and ease labor shortages.
At Europe’s largest port, the Dutch startup Captain AI is at the forefront of this transition. Using a high-tech port patrol ship, deep learning algorithms and a computer simulator originally designed to train captains, the company is engineering self-driving boats and ships.
“It’s like a puzzle with all the pieces already there,” Vincent Wegner, CEO of Captain AI, said of the development of autonomous vessels. “All the hardware and software, it’s all out there, it’s all being developed and getting cheaper, open sourced, so we can really reuse it and really leapfrog this whole development.”
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