According to Dr. Tikka, the transition to the next generation of shipping is driven by automation, data and connectivity. Ultimately, success will rely on an iterative process that requires designing, building and testing interim outcomes.

"The industry will increasingly apply a systems engineering-based approach to build in robustness and reliability into the design. This process can increase the reliability of navigation, propulsion, auxiliaries, and communication – all of which will contribute to improving safety and efficiency. If implemented correctly, evolutionary development will introduce significant benefits to shipping at each phase, before we reach autonomy on a larger scale.”

In addition, she went on to discuss how a new talent profile with different skills will be necessary as the industry moves to autonomy, stressing that increased automation and connectivity will change how crews interact with ship systems and shore-based support. The adaption to this slow transition requires innovative thinking and a diverse blend of education and experience.

“The role of class, with its strong focus on safety, is a fundamental component in the path toward smart shipping. With increases in automation and digitization, confidence in quality, reliability and cybersecurity will be key to ushering in a new era of smart shipping,” she concluded.