Lots of buzz recently regarding the use of drones to revolutionize the supply chain industry. Google is apparently developing driverless cars and Amazon.com earlier this year announced future plans to implement a drone delivery service. The latest in the unmanned transportation arena is the announcement by Rolls Royce regarding the possibility of remote controlled ocean container ships to transport cargo across the ocean. Apparently the idea of unmanned container ships has been around for quite sometime, although the technology to bring the concept to a reality is now just available. Definitely an interesting concept and I can see some practical implications including saving costs associated with the crews that are currently needed to navigate these ships. According to an article I recently read, it takes a minimum of 14 people to staff and operate a container ship during its voyage.
Obviously one of the largest concerns with a crew-less container ship is dealing with the threat of pirates and other emergency type events that would require physical human interaction to combat. How would the container ship companies protect these ships from pirate attacks? Perhaps the use of unmanned drones to accompany the ships, after all the US has been using drones to ward off would be pirates for years now.
Although the concept of using drones in the transportation sector is fraught with challenges and obstacles, the likelihood of this technology coming to fruition is highly likely.