Speaking at the Senior Maritime Forum at Marintec China 2017, Tikka said the journey to autonomous transport at sea would be a process of gradual evolution.
“The transition to the next generation of shipping is fuelled by automation, data and connectivity. Ultimately, success will rely on an iterative process that requires designing, building and testing interim outcomes,” she said.
“If implemented correctly, evolutionary development will introduce significant benefits to shipping at each phase, before we reach autonomy on a larger scale.”
To successfully enable this gradual evolution a new talent profile with different skill sets will be required by the industry.
“While we transition to further autonomy, increased automation and connectivity will change how the crews interact with ship systems and shore-based support. Managing significant change, in an industry where changes are adopted slowly, requires innovative thinking and a diverse blend of education and experience,” Tikka explained.
In terms of the role of class in this process she flagged the issues of safety, quality and cyber security. “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 digitisation, confidence in quality, reliability and cybersecurity will be key to ushering in a new era of smart shipping,” Tikka concluded.