Rolls-Royce's Drone Ships May Be the Future of Oceanic Trade


Rolls-Royce is famous for luxurious cars and jet engines, but its newest venture — autonomous drone ships — could revolutionize international shipping and put a bunch of sailors out of a job.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Rolls-Royce plans to create autonomous cargo ships built to remove the need for human crews on the world’s marine trade routes.

The Journal explains that Rolls-Royce wants to bring technologies already found in unmanned aerial vehicles and self-driving car systems to its massive cargo ships. That means laser sensors, infrared detectors, and cameras will be used to send data to command centers that make sure everything is working like it should.

Autonomous ships will join self-driving trucks as the transportation method of the future — not just for people, but for the massive amount of goods that travel overseas. Autonomous transport technologies share a common goal — making the world’s logistical networks less reliant on humans so companies can save time and money with these giant machines.

A digital rendering of what the ships might look like.

Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce originally showed off the onshore, high-tech control rooms that will be used in conjunction with these autonomous ships.

The Wall Street Journal visualizes the concept as a whole:

Rolls-Royce plans to introduce these autonomous ships in the next decade. A different marine robot will probably beat it to the punch: A group of researchers is working on killer drones to hunt down invasive lionfish, too.

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