The advantages of autonomous ships are plentiful:
Therefor, the Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association (RBSA) took the initiative to set up a think tank where stakeholders of the maritime value chain & technology providers can orient around steps in the automation pathway. Following the IMO terminology, we called it the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) think tank.
By bringing together software developers and maritime stakeholders on a regular base to (1) exchange knowledge and (2) connect, the MASS think tank aims to accelerate the adoption of applying software to increase the level of autonomy on board of a vessel.
1. Ship with automated processes and decision support: Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated and at times be unsupervised but with seafarers on board ready to take control.
2. Remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board: The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Seafarers are available on board to take control and to operate the shipboard systems and functions.
3. Remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board: The ship is controlled and operated from another location. There are no seafarers on board.
4. Fully autonomous ship: The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself.
In order to optimise the exchange of knowledge it is important that the members of the think tank
There is no membership fee but it is expected that members participate actively in the sessions. Last but not least, the think tank is a-political, commercial independent and most importantly evidence-led.