With the first autonomous vessels set to launch in the coming years, classification society DNV GL has issued a new class guideline covering autonomous and remotely operated ships to help build a safety culture around these new technologies.
Increased automation, whether in the form of decision support, remote operation, or autonomy, has the potential to improve the safety, efficiency and environmental performance of shipping. To reach this potential, the industry needs a robust set of standards that enables new systems to reach the market and ensure that these technologies are safely implemented,
…said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime.
The guideline addresses new operational concepts that do not fit within existing regulations, and technologies controlling functions that would normally be performed by humans.
In terms of new operational concepts, the guideline helps those who would like to implement new concepts with a process towards obtaining approval under the alternative design requirements by the flag state. For novel technologies, suppliers can use the guideline to obtain an approval in principle.
The guideline covers navigation, vessel engineering, remote control centres, and communications. Particular emphasis is given in two key areas that emerge from the reliance of autonomous and remote concepts on software and communications systems: cyber-security and software testing.