The U.K. has launched an Industry Code of Practice for the design, construction and operation of autonomous maritime systems.
The Code covers autonomous and semi-autonomous vessels under 24 meters long and will be updated when guidance from the IMO Regulatory Scoping Exercise is published, an exercise that the U.K. called for. Covering design, manufacturing, safety, communication and navigation through to training and skills, the Code is designed to set initial standards and best practice for all those involved with the development and operation of autonomous systems.
The Code has been prepared by the U.K. Maritime Autonomous Systems Working Group and has been published by Maritime U.K. through the Society of Maritime Industries. It has been reviewed by the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
British companies like ASV Global and AutoNaut are pioneering the design and manufacture of autonomous vessels, and Rolls Royce is a forerunner in the development of remotely operated ships.
During London International Shipping Week this year, Lloyd’s Register, QinetiQ and the University of Southampton launched a new insight report into marine autonomy, which considers the socio-economic impacts of these systems. The report argues that it will be challenging for regulatory and legal systems to adapt, consumer-driven technological developments will drive the pace of change and seafarers will be required to change their skillsets.
The Code is available here.