Amazon might have their Amazon Prime Air program, with hopes of delivering packages to your doorstep using airborne drones in an effort to increase efficiency and doing it in an extremely cool manner (while skipping the clogged road arteries in major cities during rush hour), but this does not mean that airborne delivery is the only way to move forward. No sir, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc has other ideas – by working on unmanned cargo ships instead. In Rolls-Royce’s Blue Ocean development team, they have decided to set up a virtual-reality prototype at its office in Alesund, Norway, which is capable of simulating 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge.
In due time, captains on dry land will be able to make use of similar control centers so that they will be in command of hundreds of crewless ships. Forget the skeleton crew – nobody needs to know how to swim anymore as they sip on their latte right in the comfort of the control center. The drone ships would also be safer, cheaper and pollute our environment less, and should it take off, it will greatly reshape the $375 billion shipping industry which carries approximately 90% of world trade, according to Rolls-Royce. They could deploy such drone ships in regions such as the Baltic Sea within the next 10 years, although you can be sure that there will be regulatory hurdles to clear as well as industry and union skepticism concerning cost and safety. I guess this is a case of having the masses catch up with your vision.