10 December 2022
According to Bloomberg, an unmanned vessel in Japan will carry out a 380 kilometers voyage. Launching from Tokyo bay the subject containership will head to Ise, a city alongshore of Mie Prefecture. The voyage is scheduled for February of 2022 and will be marked as the first one in the world to attempt sailing unmanned at such a high marine traffic area.
Nevertheless, Japan’s ambitions will not end in the successful fulfillment of the prescribed project. The Nippon Foundation, which supports the national development of autonomous vessels, expressed the wish to automate 50% of the inland routes by the year 2040.
In addition to the above, Nippon Foundation predicates that the automation of inland routes will bring in, approximately $9 billion to the Japanese economy by 2040. Moreover, the improvement of security can potentially be affected since 70% of accidents in the marine industry are accounted to human error, according to researches.
It should be noted that there are challenges opposed with the crew manning of vessels in Japan since the average age of the labor force is particularly high. For instance, approximately 40% of the crew members accounted on inland tanker vessels are above 55 years old.