Mariners pragmatic about increasing automation, survey finds

Ship connectivity. Credit: Getty Images

Mariner responses to a recent survey conducted by The Nautical Institute has revealed that they are ‘fairly pragmatic’ about the inevitable increase of technology on board.

According to the survey, which sought understanding around how mariners view the introduction of increasing levels of automation, those working on board ships can see scope for improvement but are also guarded about the potential risks.

According to The Nautical Institute, many survey respondents praised technology for the improvements it has brought, such as automatic positioning systems (ECDIS) making manoeuvring in tight areas easier, and automatic monitoring of cargo and unmanned spaces giving greater confidence.

The mariners surveyed also recognised that they will need new training to feel confident and competent in the use of new technology.

One of the big issues highlighted by the survey was trust. David Patraiko FNI, director of projects at The Nautical Institute, said: “For an autonomous system to be useful there needs to be a high degree of trust, either that the system won’t fail or that if there is a failure, there will be a ‘graceful degradation’ in the system giving the people on board time to take over control.”

The survey was hosted by The Nautical Institute as part of their work with the industry to ensure that training needs are met in line with the development of autonomous systems.