Advances in electronics and computer design will enhance ship operations and enable fleets to be remotely controlled
Developments in computer and electronic technology will have a dramatic impact on maritime industries, enabling autonomous shipping fleets.
Upcoming technologies will facilitate faster data processing and analytics to improve artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) which could be used to operate fleets of autonomous or remotely controlled vessels, such as those proposed by Ocean Infinity.
Quantum computing is pushing the boundaries of what is possible from processing power, which would otherwise be constrained by the laws of physics. Scientists think quantum computing will potentially extend Moore’s Law this decade to deliver far faster processing power to data analysis, AI and ML.
A breakthrough is not too far away as commercial quantum computing is becoming within reach of those looking to apply it in different sectors.
3D integrated circuits (3D-ICs) could be applied in many different areas of maritime, especially in workstations providing real-time data analytics and AI, for digital twins, simulation and fleet optimisation.
IT experts say there will be a transition from printed circuit boards to 3D-ICs and this could eventually spread across many IT products.
Combined with this will be multicore processors, where a single integrated circuit has two or more processing units, reading and executing program instructions.
This increases the speed of devices completing applications and reduces time for delivering results. Multicores could be deployed in computers, wearable systems, smartphones and other mobile devices in 2022.
Computers of the future may also have universal memory, which combines three types of memory into one package which will have a far-reaching impact on computers and therefore AI, ML and data analytics.
Universal memory combines the cost benefits of dynamic random access memory (RAM) with speed of static RAM and non-volatility of flash memory with infinite durability and longevity and terabytes of data storage.
When computers are combined in networks they will work more effectively and quicker to provide faster analytics, ML and AI. These networks would be more secure, transparent, flexible, and functional in the future when they are software-defined. Software definition technology is being introduced to remotely manage satellites to enhance maritime communications.
New technology could also be introduced to connect elements in a network to address issues with bandwidth, latency, and energy. Silicon photonics involves transferring light through a silicon-based optical medium, speeding up data transfer as fibre optics have done in telecommunications, but at a microelectronics level.
Silicon photonic devices could be made using existing semiconductor fabrication techniques and substrates used for most integrated circuits, making it possible to create hybrid devices using both optical and electronic components.
These could be integrated with nanotechnology for ultra-fast, tiny smart devices in various applications out of computers such as medical devices, engine oils and coatings to provide real-time data analytics.
All these developments will still require users, including shipmanagers and seafarers, to interface with computers and the analytic outcomes. These applications may change in the future with the use of gesture-related interfaces and pattern recognition.
Ship bridges may eventually have more natural user interfaces with augmented reality data on bridge windows and interfaces using seafarer gesture and speech. There are already displays for video, but these could have additional information from pattern recognition techniques. All these technologies could be applied for remote and autonomous vessel operations when shipping invests in crewless fleets.
Riviera Maritime Media’s Vessel Optimisation Webinar Week is being held 9 August 2021 – use this link for more details and to register