driverless shipDriverless cars are moving up fast on the outside and in California there is even legislation being proposed to make them legal on the roads. But just when you thought it’s safe to go out on the ocean, here come captain-less ships. Actually, they’re supposed to be safer that way.

Rolls Royce started developing automatic ship designs last year and could make a splash in the Baltic within the decade. Essentially, they would be sea-going drones, operated partially from afar, but having their own sensing and guidance equipment as well.

Turning to drones should be safer, and it would certainly be cheaper. According to a Bloomberg report, each crew member costs around $3,300 a day in pay and maintenance. A drone ship can skip frivolities like living quarters, water, food, electricity, air conditioning and waste disposal. We’re talking big potential here: 90 percent of the world’s trade is still carried by ships.

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