"Just as Commissioner Violeta Bulc says, the technology, ecosystem and socio-technical context, which an autonomous vessel will be operating in, is not quite clear yet.
But that autonomous shipping will be a reality is few who doubt. The traditional "linear development" begins to more and more resemble an exponential development curve even for shipping.
Digitalization, the requirements for increased information exchange, connected and interconnected systems are starting to reach shipping, which, as a result of old acclaim, did not have to be influenced by the automation that goes on land.
What drives this development for shipping may be more difficult to point out, but digital systems such as AIS and digitalized charts are perhaps some of the first enablers for digitized and automated shipping.
There´s a very real possibility that vessels of significant size with multiple automatic and maybe autonomous onboard operations will be sailing within two years. The question is, under which conditions this will happen.
In Sweden, efforts to pave the way for this opportunities are already underway. Industry, academia and authorities are discussing and there will be practical trials conducted in autumn 2017 to enable industry, academia and authorities to get an understanding of the opportunities and challenges of future digital and automated shipping."