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The Lloyd's List Podcast: The big and challenging role for class societies in autonomous shipping

Class societies must establish the needed safety requirements for autonomous ships without falling behind the technology development


AUTONOMOUS shipping is seen by many as an inevitable path towards a safer, smarter, and even cleaner maritime transport. It is an exciting yet long journey that requires innovative thinking as well as step-by-step efforts.

As we remain at an early stage in the process today, classification societies are facing the necessity to help set up a new standards and safety regime required to frame and facilitate the development of technologies. It’s both a big role to play and a challenging task to fulfill.

The safety requirements for autonomous ships must be strict enough to be effective but also, at the same time, flexible enough to be practical.

How to establish that sense of balance requires careful orchestration of various factors, including understanding the difference between the approaches aimed at “human support” and “human substitution”.

Yukihito Fujinami and Tomoaki Yamada from the Research Institute of ClassNK will discuss what the key elements are for designing the safety requirements, what progress is being made, and how the organisation itself aims to contribute to the industry’s automation efforts.

Many of these issues will also be expanded in the ClassNK Technical Journal to be published in June of this year.

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