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The crewless drone boats that could replace cargo ships and be operated remotely from anywhere in the world



 Ships would have no crew on board
Operated from a hi-tech virtual reality deck at the company's Norway HQ
Cameras beam 360-degree views from the drone ship back to operators

Rolls Royce has revealed dramatic plans to replace cargo ships with crewless 'drone boats' controlled remotely.
The firm is developing a 'virtual deck' in Norway that would allow captains to remotely command ships anywhere in the world.
Drone ships would be safer, cheaper and less polluting for the $375 billion shipping industry that carries 90 percent of world trade, Rolls-Royce says.

Rolls-Royce has already begun the process of designing giant drone ships able to shuttle cargo across the ocean minus a single solitary human being on board.
The UK engineering group's Blue Ocean marine innovation department have announced the concept of the robot vessels they believe would be able to carry more cargo, cut costs, be safer and produce less pollution.
Cameras would beam 360-degree views from the drone ship back to operators based in a virtual bridge VR system in Norway navigating the vessel remotely to steer them to their destinations.
Talks have commenced over any regulatory obstacles and potential perceived hurdles and Rolls Royce are optimistic that the drone ships may be operational in ten years time.
A Rolls-Royce Spokesperson says: 'Some steps have already been taken, mainly in the naval area, but we believe a first step will be moving certain functions on a ship ashore. 
'For example, remote engine and equipment monitoring and some underwater operations - such as controlling ROVs - in the offshore sector could be the first.'

The firm has already begun outfitting ships with advanced cameras.
'A growing number of vessels are already equipped with cameras that can see at night and through fog and snow - better than the human eye, and more ships are fitted with systems to transmit large volumes of data.
'So, some questions: given that the technology is in place, is now the time to move some operations ashore? Is it better to have a crew of 20 sailing in a gale in the North Sea, or say five people in a control room on shore?
'The same person could monitor and steer many ships.'
The crewless ships would also be cheaper to build an maintain, Rolls Royce says.

'Many facilities and systems on board are only there to ensure that the crew is kept fed, safe, and comfortable.
'Eliminate or reduce the need for people, and vessels could be radically simplified, reducing construction costs.

HOW THEY WOULD WORK
Cameras would beam 360-degree views from the drone ship back to operators based in a virtual bridge.
Rolls Royce is already testing a VR system in Norway for navigating the vessel remotely to steer them to their destinations.
The firm eventually hopes it would be able to remove all crew from the ship.

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