Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-12-2015, 07:09 PM   #21
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Off Duty--- All I can say is that your way of thinking would have had us all stuck back in the stone age for fear of doing anything because doing anything will expose us to Something Bad Happening.

Fortuanately, your way of thinking--- which is the very definition of burying one's head in the sand, BTW--- is not the prevalent mindset in industries like air transportation and other such technological endeavors.

The challenge is not to give up at the first sign of a seemingly unconquerable problem--- which is what you seem to be advocating--- but to recognize these challenges and then figure out how to overcome them.

Will that lead to more challenges? Of course it willl just as it always has. So at what point do you sugest giving up? Because if one follows your line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, at some point the fear of the challenges will simply cause you to stop and simply stay where you are. Or try to.

The good news is that it's not human nature to do this. People keep trying and keep searching and keep overcoming the challenges one by one and then taking on the next one, and on and on it goes.

There will always be the naysayers and fearmongers and the like who express the sentiments you have expressed. But in the end, they are always bypassed or ignored until they're gone as humans continue their upward climb.
__________________
Advertisement

Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 07:18 PM   #22
Guru
 
MurrayM's Avatar
 
City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,321
Tsuneo Futami, nuclear engineer who was the director of Fukushima Daiichi in the late 1990's, regarding the Fukushima disaster: "We can only work on precedent, and there was no precedent".

Another black swan event in the making.
__________________

__________________
"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" Murray Minchin
MurrayM is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 07:35 PM   #23
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
Unsinkable ship...pipeline will not rupture...tsunami proof nuclear plant...

You've just described how humans learn things.

I just completed a video about an ongoing program in which engineering students from different universities in different parts of the country and from different disciplines work together in real time to design and then build a plane as their senior Capstone Project. They are given a challenge--- design and build a plane to do a specific task-- and they have two semesters to do it.

One of the overseers of this project is former shuttle astronaut Dr. Charles Camarda. In talking about this program he said, "I think problem-based learning is the way to go. Students being able to go out there in the laboratory, test things, fail, and learn from their failures and get that hands on learning is important. I want students that are willing to take a chance, and to take a risk with an idea that's going to be a game-changing idea for the company."

Obviously nobody wants to see failures like the ones you described: ships that sink, pipelines that rupture, reactors that are destroyed by a tsunami. But in the same way the engineering students Dr. Camarda describes learn from their failures, "adults" learn from their failures, too.

It's impossible to anticipate every failure. The first time we stalled one of our newer jetliner models it flipped completely upside down and then dropped its nose straight down and dove for the earth. Nobody saw that one coming despite the thousands of hours of wind tunnel tests and probably millions of hours of computer analysis of the design.

So surprise, surprise, but it did it anyway. Finding the cause and the cure was actually fairly simple in this case but it's not always this way.

Life is about encountering problems and overcoming them. Some are easy, some are hard. Some unfortunately get people killed before the lessons are learned to the point where the mistakes won't be repeated.

But to simply give up because a big, scary obstacle's been encountered isn't the smart course of action. And fortunately, it's not the course of action humans as a whole tend to favor.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 07:54 PM   #24
Veteran Member
 
Wanderin Star's Avatar
 
City: Michigan City, Ind
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 69
Autonomous ships

I've always felt, since William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy showed us the beginning in 1966, that todays Science Fiction is tomorrows technology. All the way through to the latest SciFi they keep coming up with stuff my dad always referred to as"That's Tv. Won't EVER happen!"
If you can think it someone will build it, and someone else will find a way to beat it. Not really sure about the Jedi Knights "force of all the universe" but it won't shock me. OMG, that's my 2nd reference to Star Wars in one day!
Wanderin Star is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 07:58 PM   #25
Guru
 
Northern Spy's Avatar
 
City: Powell River, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Northern Spy
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 26
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,666
Technology is the easy part. I agree that systems will generally get more and more autonomous. As it us, some of us already have levels of autonomy in our cars (lane sensing, auto parking), boats (autopilots steering by waypoints) and airplanes (autoland).

If complete autonomy is to exist, the business case has to exist to warrant it. Is the net benefit really there to remove all of the human element? As this thread shows, AI scares the heck out of people. Just because engineers can build it, doesn't mean that business leaders will accept the solution or the inherent risks.

I truly believe that liability is the bigger factor. The potential for a plane crash, car driving on sidewalk, or ship plowing over kayakers may really be the obstacle.

Furthermore, the ethics associated with programming potential accident response might be detrimental to complete autonomy. I'm thinking of the damned if you do, damned if you don't dilemmas. Kill passengers on board, or kill people adjacent to the scene. The trolley car switch thingy...
Northern Spy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 08:13 PM   #26
Guru
 
cappy208's Avatar
 
City: Cape Cod
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Slip Aweigh
Vessel Model: Prairie 29
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,131
Technology has not proven to be perfect. Until and unless it can be shown to have complete 100% redundantly redundant perfection then there will always be a need to have a (poor, stupid, ignorant, feeble) Human as a backup to take over when the ship hits the phan. (so to speak)

My particular example had a computer failure the last day I was aboard. The Techies were falling over themselves because the symptoms had never been seen before. Yet, they couldn't stop the symptoms, nor could they replicate the occurrence. The solution was to replace the computer.

Find a computer that can 'replace a computer' and I will buy into the concept. It hasn't happened as yet. Now add in the variables of the ocean, humidity, short circuits and vibration. The industries not ready (yet).

I would ask: Is brain surgery completely 'human free'? Sure, computers, TV screens, robots, and other aids. But who does the final decision? If they can't completely trust a robot.... Until ALL boats are antonymous, there will always be a 'human' element. There is a term for this: left handed navigation.

Wrong decisions don't make correct solutions.
cappy208 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 08:57 PM   #27
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Spy View Post
Furthermore, the ethics associated with programming potential accident response might be detrimental to complete autonomy. I'm thinking of the damned if you do, damned if you don't dilemmas. Kill passengers on board, or kill people adjacent to the scene.
Well, we get those kinds of dilemmas now, I think, so I'm not sure how the increased use of technology will change that. In fact removing the human factor in the decision might make the outcome more "fair" if such an outcome can be considered that.

You're absolutely correct, of course, nothing happens without there being a business case for it. Unless it's governments doing things in which case there doesn't have to be a logical case of any kind for it.

Fully automated flight or ocean shipping will not become a reality unless a financial advantage--- which includes increased safety, of course--- can be realized from it.

Personally, I believe it can be. Automation has already been proven to greatly reduce employee injuries in the workplace. And employee injury is a major economic hit to big companies like the one I work for. The industry I work in is automating manufacturing and assembly processes as fast as the means of automation can be conceived and implemented.

The motivation is not just reducing injuries, of course. Reducing process time. Enhancing consistency and quality. In some cases doing something that humans simply can't do at all.

For example my industry has started studying the notion of 3D printing an entire airplane fuselage. Big room, big printer, person sits down at a control panel, pushes the Go button, and in x-amount of time there you have it--- a one-piece jetliner fuselage. No riveting, no winding or laying up composites, no autoclaves, and the process will be totally consistent as will the quality of the end product. And..... unless the operator sprains his or her finger pushing the Go button, no injuries.

One reason I believe--- as do more and more people in this industry--- that fully automated air transportation is very achievable is that it's a repeatable process. British Airways Flight 48 always leaves SEA for LHR every day at 1830 or whatever its schedule is.

As I see it the big challenge is not automating the airplane (or ship). We demonstrated that 30 years ago with a 767 media flight from Seattle to Chicago during which the pilots didn't touch the plane from when they had it lined up on the departure runway in Seattle until it stopped on the arrival runway at Chicago.

The big challenge I see--- planes or ships--- is conducting a totally repeatable process in a totally variable environment. But the industry is continuously chipping away at this, finding out how to first collect more and more information and then get it to the "machine" that needs to use it.

But in the end it has to be as Spy says--- a viable aka financial reason to do it. I don't know anything about the economics of the ocean shipping industry, but in aviation an airplane loss like the ones experienced by Malaysia Airlines are financially devastating. While it looks like this won't happen, there was talk at the time of the airline simply ceasing to exist the financial impact would be so great. If automation can reduce this risk significantly, the business case begins to emerge.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 08:58 PM   #28
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappy208 View Post

Find a computer that can 'replace a computer' and I will buy into the concept. It hasn't happened as yet.
Sure it has. In aircraft it's called redundancy. If one system craps out the function is shifted to another system. I have no idea if the same degree of redundancy exists in ships.

Not only that, but the systems in an aircraft, at least the newer ones, now have the ability to tell computers on the ground what just went wrong if something did, and the computers on the ground tell the airline's maintenance computers what went wrong, and the maintenance computers determine what repair procedures, parts (which may in fact include a replacement onboard computer), and tools are needed to fix the problem, and this information is automatically relayed to the computers at the airplane's destination on the other side of the planet at which point the computers over there tell the maintenance technician what he needs and what to do so when the airplane arrives he's there at the gate ready to make the fix.

And these days this last bit--- the step-by-step instructions for what to do when the plane arrives--- will already be on his iPad put their wirelessly by the destination's maintenance computers.

We filmed this recently in Emirate's massive control room in Dubai and it's pretty amazing to see. Everything I've described except the maintenance technician collecting his parts and tools and ramp van at the destination airport happens in less time than it took me to type this post.

So don't underestimate the power of what computing can do today, let alone what it will be able to do tomorrow.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 09:24 PM   #29
Guru
 
cappy208's Avatar
 
City: Cape Cod
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Slip Aweigh
Vessel Model: Prairie 29
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,131
I don't doubt the ability of the 'puter. But throw in the sea, the corrosion of salt water and murphys law and I doubt there is a solution in the offing now. Later? sure. But currently, No.
cappy208 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 09:26 PM   #30
Senior Member
 
Blissboat's Avatar
 
City: Jacksonville Beach, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Shallow Minded
Vessel Model: Shoal Cat
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 411
Mariners tend to be traditionalists, for good reason. The principles of naval architecture, shipbuilding, and seamanship are the product of centuries of hard-won experience. The history of seafaring is replete with examples of ships and crews taken by the sea with little or no explanation. Sailors probe those events closely, parsing the often scant evidence for clues as to what went wrong and how to prevent it.

As boys and girls become sailors, they pick up what they need from the vast body of inherited knowledge accumulated over a long time. Some of it may be questionable, some grows obsolete, but the most important lessons tend to have been proven sufficiently to endure. I am not alone in having learned a great deal about boats and boating from people who had no idea that they were teaching me as I watched them, and who themselves learned in similar ways. My own experiences enrich what I learned from others along the way.

That's part of what makes the Trawler Forum valuable. Things tend to be done aboard boats in the ways they are because of experience. Like every mariner there has ever been, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. The seafaring tradition (which I try to uphold) is that we should be generous in sharing what we know.

There is a big difference between inflexible resistance to change, and skepticism toward experimentation in the implacably unforgiving environment of the sea. The former is a losing strategy for survival. Everyone gets that. The latter has proven to be a winning strategy for survival. Dismiss it at your peril.

Aviators resemble mariners, in that the prudent ones are constantly interrogating their situation, asking the "what-if" questions. What if my engine loses power in one minute? In one hour? What if the wind shifts during the night and my anchor drags? We don't live paralyzed by fear – if we did, we’d never attempt anything. We venture boldly, as sailors always have, with a taste for adventure and discovery bolstered by the knowledge that is the product of deep experience.

Just because mariners are cautiously conservative by nature does not make us troglodytes. The technology of seafaring has made great leaps over just the past two hundred years. When new, the U.S. Navy’s oldest warship, the frigate USS Constitution, at 203’ in length, carried a crew of 450. Its newest destroyers, the radically innovative Zumwalt-class DDG-1000s, at 600’ long, require as few as 130, while capable of far greater combat performance. Container ships, such as the Emma Mærsk, at 1302’ feet in length and displacing over 170K gross tons, require a crew of as few as 13.

The topic of this thread is unmanned vessels. Remotely-operated vessels (ROVs) have proven their utility, but translating that success into larger vessels transiting the high seas is a different matter. It should come as no surprise that the prospect of an Emma Mærsk transiting the sea lanes with no mariners aboard strains the credulity of anyone who has spent any serious time at sea.

My earlier post (#4) was a bit glib about unmanned passenger aircraft, but I doubt that I am alone in saying that I would simply choose not to travel in an airliner whose pilot was not aboard. I have too much respect for the skill that comes with experience. For arguably the best aviation writing there has ever been on that subject, see Ernest K. Gann’s Fate is the Hunter (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961), an autobiographical account of his years as a line pilot. (Gann was an accomplished mariner, too – indeed, a former trawler-type yacht of his is presently for sale on YachtWorld.com).
Blissboat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 09:32 PM   #31
Guru
 
Northern Spy's Avatar
 
City: Powell River, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Northern Spy
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 26
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,666
Will Autonomous Ships Make the Seas Safer or Riskier?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Spy View Post
I truly believe that liability is the bigger factor. The potential for a plane crash, car driving on sidewalk, or ship plowing over kayakers may really be the obstacle.

Furthermore, the ethics associated with programming potential accident response might be detrimental to complete autonomy. I'm thinking of the damned if you do, damned if you don't dilemmas. Kill passengers on board, or kill people adjacent to the scene. The trolley car switch thingy...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Well, we get those kinds of dilemmas now, I think, so I'm not sure how the increased use of technology will change that. In fact removing the human factor in the decision might make the outcome more "fair" if such an outcome can be considered that.

I think the concept of "directing mind" would scare the bejesus out of most Boards of Directors. Corporations can act only through its agents and employees. I could conceivably see that they may find themselves culpable or even criminally liable for the "decisions" of an automated system if it fails.

I guess that's why I foresee continuously greater automation, but not complete reliance.

I would also predict that as Artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, it will become regulated, as nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons are currently. It will be the greatest existential threat to the human race, if not the animal kingdom.

That said, our hubris will probably take us right up to the edge in order to peek into the abyss.
Northern Spy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 09:47 PM   #32
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappy208 View Post
I don't doubt the ability of the 'puter. But throw in the sea, the corrosion of salt water and murphys law and I doubt there is a solution in the offing now. Later? sure. But currently, No.

Oh, I would certainly agree with that, air or sea. Both operating environments have a long way to go before full automation can be totally relied upon.

For example we've just been talking about the airplane's capabilities here, but Air Traffic Control, which is horribly behind the times in many if not most parts of the world, is a whole other challenge. And when you start talking ATC you start talking governments and politics and the whole mess.

I would imagine similar scenarios exist in ocean shipping with politics, economics, national "priorities" and Lord knows what else making it difficult to currently impossible to set up any sort of globally agreed upon ocean shipping control environment.

While I firmly believe that fully automated air and ocean transportation is in man's future, I will be very surprised if anyone participating in this forum will live to see it. Their kids or grandkids may not live to see it, I don't know.

It's not something that's going to be introduced with the snap of a finger. It's going to take time--- a long time. What I find encouraging is that industry--- at least my industry, I have no knowledge of Cappy's--- is starting the journey to get there.

As John Cashman, the chief pilot of the 777 program during its development and flight testing liked to describe the flight test process, it's "baby steps" to find and fix the problems as they arise until one day you've crossed the road and you're there with a certificated airplane ready to go into service.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 10:21 PM   #33
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Spy View Post

I would also predict that as Artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, it will become regulated, as nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons are currently. It will be the greatest existential threat to the human race, if not the animal kingdom.
Or--- is it where human/animal existence is going? Applying the morals, beliefs, philosophies, of today to what might happen tomorrow is a non-starter because that has never worked on this planet.

If we contemplate what might happen in the future as suddenly happening tomorrow, sure, we scare ourselves to death as this thread has demonstrated. All sorts of reasons why fully automated ocean shipping or air transportation can't work, won't ever work, and so on. "I'm never stepping on an airplane with no flight crew," has been a frequent comment.

Well, nobody here will have to. But..... like all the massive changes that have happened on earth, all of them were accepted to be just fine by the time they actually happened.

My mom had a college textbook about something or other and one of the illustrations in it that fascinated me as a little kid was of settlers in the US crossing the country by Conestoga wagon. It was an arresting illustration because it showed the settlers lowering a wagon over a bluff so they could continue on their way. I remember thinking that this was a staggering amount of work just to get from Point A to Point B and it looked really dangerous and it was a really dumb way to get across the country.

So you know that a bunch of years in the future people will be looking at pictures or videos of flight crews in 2015 flying their 787s and A350s with passengers sitting in the cabins behind them and they will think, "What a dumb way to travel. I can't imagine people having to do that. And talk about dangerous. You'd have no clue how those two guys driving it might screw up."

Because by then whatever fully automated, easy-breezy system of transportation they're using will be the norm, and what we accept today as the norm will appear to them to be totally ridiculous and inefficient and dangerous.

And ocean shipping? Well, we could easily say if the Titanic captain had had real-time satellite imagery he could have seen that stupid iceberg long before he was anywhere near it even at night. And the folks in the future looking at videos of the bridge of a 2015 new-build bulk carrier or whatever? "Can you believe those bozos had to actually stand on top of that thing and drive it all the way across the Pacific through storms and stuff? How nuts is that?"

So we never know what's coming.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 12:43 AM   #34
Guru
 
Off Duty's Avatar
 
City: Tampa
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 843
Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
Unsinkable ship...pipeline will not rupture...tsunami proof nuclear plant...
Bwahahaha...well said.
Off Duty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 01:01 AM   #35
Guru
 
Off Duty's Avatar
 
City: Tampa
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 843
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Off Duty--- All I can say is that your way of thinking would have had us all stuck back in the stone age for fear of doing anything because doing anything will expose us to Something Bad Happening.

Fortuanately, your way of thinking--- which is the very definition of burying one's head in the sand, BTW--- is not the prevalent mindset in industries like air transportation and other such technological endeavors.

The challenge is not to give up at the first sign of a seemingly unconquerable problem--- which is what you seem to be advocating--- but to recognize these challenges and then figure out how to overcome them.

Will that lead to more challenges? Of course it willl just as it always has. So at what point do you sugest giving up? Because if one follows your line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, at some point the fear of the challenges will simply cause you to stop and simply stay where you are. Or try to.

The good news is that it's not human nature to do this. People keep trying and keep searching and keep overcoming the challenges one by one and then taking on the next one, and on and on it goes.

There will always be the naysayers and fearmongers and the like who express the sentiments you have expressed. But in the end, they are always bypassed or ignored until they're gone as humans continue their upward climb.

Hey guys. Can I request a caveman smiley? LoL
Off Duty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 12:30 PM   #36
Senior Member
 
City: SanFran
Country: USA
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 166
I can see both perspectives - the "go slow" approach and (as a business guy) the benefits to having fewer people on board a commercial ship.

It seems that the barrier to having fully autonomous cargo ships is going to be reasonably high for all the reasons cited.

BUt the more I read this discussion the more I started thinking that the faster adoption area for this "autonomous" technology in boats may be in the smaller to medium size trawler boats, for the simple reason that the risks are relatively low (how much damage can a small boat do to other things?), and the benefit in some specific situations (e.g. overnight passages in open water) could be quite significant. And the technology that could come out of the car industry - say Google's self driving cars - seems relatively transferable to the medium-sized boat industry (think Nordhavns, Selene's, etc.).

I'm thinking that much like people will or are getting used to the semi-automonous features like those currently in Mercedes S class vehicles (that allow the car to basically drive itself when on the freeway) the self-piloting technology in mid-size boats that go off-shore on overnight passages - seems pretty easy.

So - my question to you - for those who do overnight passages on the open ocean... How long will it be before you would accept more complete auto-pilot (sensor driven to watch for non-AIS type objects) on your boat for night passages?

What do you think of this idea? Seems like someone around here in the San Francisco either is, or should be, working on this.

I see it more likely to be a modified version of the self-driving car technology (which as to be pretty cheap to work in $50,000 cars) than a simplified version of the commercial shipping boat autonomous technology.

Also - since it would be off shore, without pedestrians and kayakers to worry about - it seems like this could be the first place of adoption (ahead of cars and ships that will face many legal and political issues).

Your thoughts?
LRC58Fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 01:09 PM   #37
Senior Member
 
Blissboat's Avatar
 
City: Jacksonville Beach, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Shallow Minded
Vessel Model: Shoal Cat
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 411
The maritime industry has long been right in the thick of adopting technologies that reduce manning requirements. For example, square riggers gave way to fore-and-aft rigged schooners; coal-fired steamships yielded to oil; muzzle-loading cannon gave way to breech loaders, etc. Containerization of ocean freight is the highest form (so far) of that trend. It's how competition drives innovation.

As for automation on smaller vessels, like a passage-making motor yacht, the technology has been getting there, too. I have made short-handed (myself and one crew) offshore passages under sail, and relied on an autopilot plus electronic countermeasures such as a robust radar reflector (Firdell Blipper) and detector (Locata Watchman). Both left me unconvinced that I had gotten my money's worth, and both are now long since out of production. But I reached my destination unscathed - meaning, I guess, that I got away with it that time.

The thing that sobered me up about offshore small-boat passage-making with limited lookout capability is semi-submerged shipping containers. I've seen them by day, barely awash, and imagined the consequences if my 40' fiberglass ketch had plowed into the thing at six or seven knots.

One morning on the 0400-0600 watch, the Sun rose to illuminate hundreds of timbers, approx. 4" x 4" wallowing in the sea around me. They must have fallen off a cargo vessel. Any one of them could have stove-in my hull just at the waterline. How I missed ramming one in the dark is something I still shake my head over.

Anyway, those are things I have pondered whenever tempted to set the AP and doze off for a few minutes. The technology probably exists to detect such hazards, but at what cost, and with what level of certainty? Running a ship or a boat is a bit like running a business in the sense that risk is ever present. Success means managing risks effectively. Here, the risk ratio presently looks unacceptable.

The sea is beautiful, but indifferent as to whether we cross it safely. Audacity and luck will only get you so far.
Blissboat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 01:34 PM   #38
Senior Member
 
City: SanFran
Country: USA
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blissboat View Post

The thing that sobered me up about offshore small-boat passage-making with limited lookout capability is semi-submerged shipping containers. I've seen them by day, barely awash, and imagined the consequences if my 40' fiberglass ketch had plowed into the thing at six or seven knots.

One morning on the 0400-0600 watch, the Sun rose to illuminate hundreds of timbers, approx. 4" x 4" wallowing in the sea around me. They must have fallen off a cargo vessel. Any one of them could have stove-in my hull just at the waterline. How I missed ramming one in the dark is something I still shake my head over.
I think you make very good points - the risk to boats of smaller but hull-destroying objects is significant.

But I also wonder how well our human eyes and minds are at discerning these things when we're sleep deprived and alone on watch?

Any new autonomous auto-pilot boat technology would have to be as good and hopefully a lot better than our fallible human alternative. Just as in cars today - I can see these being phased in with people still standing watch as basically another set of eyes scanning the horizon looking for risks and then as we build our confidence in them we let them do more and more.

It seems that with these sensors positioned on tall masts (on sailboats) or above the radar on polls - the actual discernibility of the systems might actually be much better than our eyes at close to water level.
LRC58Fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 01:53 PM   #39
Senior Member
 
City: SanFran
Country: USA
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 166
Interesting - a quick search shows that exactly this is happening:

Autopilot system for recreational boating responds to threats before they occur

Autopilot systems for yachts and inboard boats are a common backup that gives the captain an occasional rest. But these systems are designed to react to changes in conditions after they occur, which may be too late in certain circumstances, whereas the safest, most ideal system will preempt threats and react in anticipation of a coming danger. Google and others have been developing such systems for driverless cars for years, and now a startup spun out of the University at Buffalo hopes to sell preemptive marine autopilot systems to small and mid-size recreational boat owners.

Recreational boating accidents cost hundreds of lives each year. US Coast Guard statistics show over 4,000 accidents and 610 deaths (equivalent to 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered vessels) from recreational boating in 2014, with operator inattention and inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and alcohol use rated as the top contributing factors.

See the full story:

Autopilot system for recreational boating responds to threats before they occur

Other groups working on Autonomous Marine systems (a short list of many):

Origins | Autonomous Marine Systems

Somerville startup is testing an unmanned catamaran that will be capable of months-long voyages
Somerville startup is testing an unmanned catamaran that will be capable of months-long voyages | BetaBoston
LRC58Fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 02:01 PM   #40
Guru
 
Ski in NC's Avatar
 
City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,884
Shipboard automation will continue to increase. That's a given, and a good thing.

Going to fully autonomous, i.e., no humans at all, doubtful for a looonng time.

Marin, your praise for the computers and the young engineers is well founded. The tech is truly amazing.

But I sense you do not have deep experience with shipboard propulsion, electrical and other systems. Even with all the automation, much of those systems remains very similar to the less automated systems that preceded. Engines, pumps, turbines, generators, filters, valves, miles of pipe, breakers, switchgear, monitoring gear, and more pumps.

Automate all you want, and those systems are going to remain similar. And things BREAK. A pressure transducer starts spewing oil. A pump shaft seal burns up. A breaker trips below trip current. A contactor coil faults open. A ballast control MOV limit switch sticks.

If you need to look up what a MOV is, I proved my point!!

And airliners are not a good analogy. A turbofan engine is about as complex as a turbine driven feedpump, and has maintenance standing by after a 12hr run if anything acts up.

It will remain economic to have a crew on board to operate and maintain the vessel as it operates. And to handle unforseen events... for a long time into the future.
__________________

Ski in NC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:00 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012