Special Issue "Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Ship Operations"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 November 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Salman Nazir
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences, Department of Maritime operations, University of South-Eastern Norway, Raveien 215, 3184 Borre, Norway
Interests: human factors; training methods; virtual reality training simulators; training syllabus; performance indices; performance assessment; performance management; spatial learning; virtual and augmented virtual reality; learning processes; complex socio-technical systems; situation awareness and distributed situation awareness; distributed situation awareness indices; human-autonomy teaming
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Maritime operations have been transforming continually over the past few decades, and recent years have seen an increase in autonomy and automation technologies in the maritime domain. With the advent of autonomous cars in transport, the dream of unmanned cargo carriers in the seaways has experienced a new surge of interest across different stakeholders around the globe. Though the spotlight on unmanned autonomous vessels is evident, practical implementation is still in its infancy. Therefore, humans will remain an important part of maritime systems in varying roles until the aspects of autonomous maritime operations attain maturity. Therefore, it is critical to understand and foresee the potential implications of autonomous technologies on the different segments and actors of the maritime domain. This Special Issue addresses but is not limited to the following areas:

  • Legal and regulatory challanges, e.g., regulatory frameworks of national and international, governmental or nongovernmental stakeholders regarding maritime autonomous ship operations; understanding the liability for actions of autonomous agents; constrains, deficiencies and enablers in the current legal frameworks affecting implementation of maritime automation;
  • Future competence requirements, e.g., relevant future skills of seafarers and maritime personnel; organization, leadership, and subordination in partially or completely remote-operation setup;
  • Maritime education and training (MET) through neopedagogy and training indices in maritime context in the advent of autonomous era, e.g., virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the use of other available immersive media, training and bridge resource management adjusted for reduced crew sizes; improved team training; human autonomy team training and improved assessment methods;
  • Practical implementation considerations, e.g., evaluation regarding the compatibility and adaptability of autonomous technologies with human operators; improved evaluation and validation of safety and efficiency of new systems and systems’ elements;
  • Digital infrastructure for autonomous ship operations and management, e.g., shore control centres and connectivity solutions; cybersecurity; maintenance and upgrades; standardization of interfaces and tools;
  • Human performance in autonomous technologies, e.g., human autonomy teaming; psychosocial issues (e.g., trust, complacency, bias); evaluating and understanding human performance in autonomous and remote-controlled ship operations;
  • Enablers for maritime domain to adopt autonomous solutions, e.g., business cases; lessons from other domains; implementation impact modeling.

Prof. Dr. Salman Nazir
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • autonomous ships
  • maritime operations
  • shore control centre
  • seafarer skills
  • remote operations
  • human-centered design
  • Maritime Education and Training

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Risks and Benefits of Crew Reduction and/or Removal with Increased Automation on the Ship Operator: A Licensed Deck Officer’s Perspective
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 3569; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083569 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 822
Abstract
As autonomous technologies proliferate in the shipping industry, limited research has been conducted on its potential implications on the Licensed Deck Officer. This research examines the potential benefits and risks of increased onboard automation with the reduction and/or removal of onboard crew on [...] Read more.
As autonomous technologies proliferate in the shipping industry, limited research has been conducted on its potential implications on the Licensed Deck Officer. This research examines the potential benefits and risks of increased onboard automation with the reduction and/or removal of onboard crew on the Licensed Deck Officer. Qualitative methods of literature review, survey, and individual semi-structured interviews were used. The rating scale method and Likert Bar Graph scaling approach convey survey results. A Theoretical Thematic Analysis was used to analyze interview data. Reliability, validity, and objectivity of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) interviewed are part of the research strategy. It was found that many barriers exist to the implementation of autonomous vessels, mostly revolving around crew and vessel safety. Reducing crews and increasing shipboard automation have potentially negative effects on the Licensed Deck Officer, including sensor over-reliance, decreased situational awareness, and increased complacency, while providing no reduction in onboard duties or fatigue. Changes in navigational, manning, and liability regulation must be addressed by maritime authorities first. The shipping industry’s mindset is slow to change, but with this inevitable technology, the mariner will adapt. Insights generated from this research will benefit involved stakeholders to better understand and prepare for changes in the maritime industry due to the onset of autonomous shipping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Ship Operations)
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Article
Identification of the Relationship between Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships and the Operator’s Mental Workload
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 2331; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11052331 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 661
Abstract
Shipping is an indispensable tool for the sustainable global supply chain, and seafarers play a key role in safe navigation. Maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) have been expected to reduce marine accidents by human error of the seafarers. On the other hand, MASS [...] Read more.
Shipping is an indispensable tool for the sustainable global supply chain, and seafarers play a key role in safe navigation. Maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) have been expected to reduce marine accidents by human error of the seafarers. On the other hand, MASS may have adverse effects on operators’ mental workload (MWL) and increase safety risks in some cases. This research aims to provide a scheme for identifying the relationship between MWL and MASS in the maritime that can be utilised for rulemaking and technological development. The provided scheme identifies the factors that affect the MWL of operators and sub-elements of MWL through gap analysis. Five factors related to MASS operation were defined, in addition to general factors. The case study was carried out by utilising the scheme on typical cases focusing on the normal navigational situation. The NASA task load index method was used to measure MWL. Ten deck officers with various ranks, including the third officer and captain, participated in the case study. The results suggested that various causes such as conflicted situations, machine–human interfaces, mechanical-style movements of the ship, reliability of MASS, and visibility constraints affect the MWL of operators. It also confirmed the verification of the identification scheme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Ship Operations)
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Article
On the Influence of Human Factors on Safety of Remotely-Controlled Merchant Vessels
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11031145 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 884
Abstract
With numerous efforts undertaken by both industry and academia to develop and implement autonomous merchant vessels, their safety remains an utmost priority. One of the modes of their operation which is expected to be used is a remote control. Therein, some, if not [...] Read more.
With numerous efforts undertaken by both industry and academia to develop and implement autonomous merchant vessels, their safety remains an utmost priority. One of the modes of their operation which is expected to be used is a remote control. Therein, some, if not all, decisions will be made remotely by human operators and executed locally by a vessel control system. This arrangement incorporates a possibility of a human factor occurrence. To this end, a variety of factors are known in the literature along with a complex network of mutual relationships between them. In order to study their potential influence on the safety of remotely-controlled merchant vessels, an expert study has been conducted using the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System-Maritime Accidents (HFACS–MA) framework. The results indicate that the most relevant for the safety of this prospective system is to ensure that known problems are properly and timely rectified and that remote operators maintain their psycho- and physiological conditions. The experts elicited have also assigned higher significance to the causal factors of active failures than latent failures, thus indicating a general belief that operators’ actions represent the final and the most important barrier against accident occurrence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Ship Operations)
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Article
An AIS Data-Driven Approach to Analyze the Pattern of Ship Trajectories in Ports Using the DBSCAN Algorithm
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 799; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11020799 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1062
Abstract
As the maritime industry enters the era of maritime autonomous surface ships, research into artificial intelligence based on maritime data is being actively conducted, and the advantages of profitability and the prevention of human error are being emphasized. However, although many studies have [...] Read more.
As the maritime industry enters the era of maritime autonomous surface ships, research into artificial intelligence based on maritime data is being actively conducted, and the advantages of profitability and the prevention of human error are being emphasized. However, although many studies have been conducted relating to oceanic operations by ships, few have addressed maneuvering in ports. Therefore, in an effort to resolve this issue, this study explores ship trajectories derived from automatic identification systems’ data collected from ships arriving in and departing from the Busan New Port in South Korea. The collected data were analyzed by dividing them into port arrival and departure categories. To analyze ship trajectory patterns, the density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) algorithm, a machine learning clustering method, was employed. As a result, in the case of arrival, seven clusters, including the leg and turning section, were derived, and departure was classified into six clusters. The clusters were then divided into four phases and a pattern analysis was conducted for speed over ground, course over ground, and ship position. The results of this study could be used to develop new port maneuvering guidelines for ships and represent a significant contribution to the maneuvering practices of autonomous ships in port. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Ship Operations)
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Article
Regulatory Requirements on the Competence of Remote Operator in Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship: Situation Awareness, Ship Sense and Goal-Based Gap Analysis
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(23), 8751; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10238751 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) has been developed recently, and demonstration projects have been carried out internationally. Considering the full autonomous level is unlikely to be addressed shortly, remote control centre and Remote Operator (RO) will play a vital role in the MASS [...] Read more.
Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) has been developed recently, and demonstration projects have been carried out internationally. Considering the full autonomous level is unlikely to be addressed shortly, remote control centre and Remote Operator (RO) will play a vital role in the MASS system. Although competence of watchkeeping at the ship’s bridge is inevitable for RO to avoid ship accidents caused by human errors, international requirements have not been introduced yet. This paper presents a way to develop the regulatory framework on the competence of RO based on the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) by exploring the concept of Situation Awareness (SA). Goal-Based Gap Analysis (GBGA) is constructed based on the human-behaviour model and the required information for SA. A case study through the mini focus group discussion with interviews by a total of three (3) veteran instructors of training ships is conducted utilising the information including the results of previous demonstration projects on the remote control. The results show the relationship between required information and ship sense, shortage of these factors when RO is operating, additional competence and possible regulatory requirements for RO. The findings support the usefulness of GBGA and pave the way to develop a regulatory framework for RO further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Ship Operations)
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Review

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Review
Costs and Benefits of Autonomous Shipping—A Literature Review
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4553; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11104553 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1125
Abstract
The development of autonomous ship technology is currently in focus worldwide and the literature on this topic is growing. However, an in-depth cost and benefit estimation of such endeavours is in its infancy. With this systematic literature review, we present the state-of-the-art system [...] Read more.
The development of autonomous ship technology is currently in focus worldwide and the literature on this topic is growing. However, an in-depth cost and benefit estimation of such endeavours is in its infancy. With this systematic literature review, we present the state-of-the-art system regarding costs and benefits of the operation of prospective autonomous merchant ships with an objective for identifying contemporary research activities concerning an estimation of operating, voyage, and capital costs in prospective, autonomous shipping and vessel platooning. Additionally, the paper outlines research gaps and the need for more detailed business models for operating autonomous ships. Results reveal that valid financial models of autonomous shipping are lacking and there is significant uncertainty affecting the cost estimates, rendering only a reliable evaluation of specific case studies. The findings of this paper may be found relevant not only by academia, but also organisations considering to undertake a challenge of implementing Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships in their operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Ship Operations)
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