It’s hard to believe that it has only been a little more than a decade since Industry 4.0 – otherwise known as the fourth industrial revolution – began to take hold. Automation has already transformed so many industries in such a short time and shows no signs of slowing down. In this article, we’ll explore how automation continues to change the industry, with a focus on the military, marine, cruise line, and yachting sectors.
Maybe the biggest industry that is being affected by automation is the worldwide shipping and logistics industry. Autonomous ships are being developed and tested, robots are now loading containers onto cargo ships, and drones are being used to survey ports for safety risks. All of these automated systems will reduce the risk of accidents occurring at sea due to human error, as well as cutting down on the time taken to complete shipping journeys.
It is estimated that by 2024, 20% of all maritime transport will be automated, which could further reduce costs and emissions. Combined with self-driving trucks, this could make the global shipping industry far more efficient. One study even suggests that autonomous ships could save the global shipping industry $30 billion by 2030.
Some people may imagine giant tanks like mech warriors when the subject of automation in the military is brought up. Indeed, the current generation of military robots, like Boston Dynamics, may remind people more of The Terminator Movies than of actual military technology.
However, the reality is that automation already plays a major role in modern warfare. Autonomous ships and drones are being used in the military to scout out targets, as well as providing logistical support. Pilot-less combat drones are being used to conduct surveillance and strikes around the world. Autonomous submarines are now being developed which could further reduce the risk of loss of human life in conflict situations. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is an example of how the use of autonomous drones has changed the nature of warfare and paints a grim picture of what the human cost of future conflicts will be.
That said, science fiction has given us dozens of ideas on how automation, especially in the context of armed or military robots can go awry. One such example came in 2017 when a Russian military drone flew into Israeli airspace and was downed by the country’s air automated defense systems. The incident was de-escalated quickly, but it’s a reminder that even with the best of intentions, automation in the military can still be unpredictable and dangerous.
The cruise industry is also embracing automation, with the development of autonomous ships such as the MSC Bellissima by MSC Cruises. Autonomous ships are being developed which could carry thousands of passengers with far fewer human crew members onboard. This could reduce running costs and increase efficiency, as well as allow for a more personalized level of service for cruise passengers.
The technology is still in the early stages, but autonomous ships could potentially revolutionize the cruise industry. The cost savings could be passed on to passengers, while also allowing for more creative itineraries and excursions as a result of having fewer crew members onboard.
Onboard cruise ships, automation is also making a splash. Cruise ships now have automated cabins, where passengers can control their environment from the comfort of their own rooms. Automated food delivery robots are also becoming a common sight on cruise ships, allowing passengers to enjoy freshly cooked meals in their cabins without having to wait in line for hours. Likewise, tracking passengers with RFID bracelets allows for a more seamless and customized experience for cruise passengers.
The yachting industry is also looking to automation to reduce costs, improve efficiency and provide a better experience for customers. Automated docking systems are being developed which could allow luxury yachts to dock without the need for human supervision. Likewise, automated navigation and sailing systems are being developed which could make the process of sailing more efficient and reduce the risk of human error.
Moreover, automated systems could be used to monitor a yacht’s performance and provide early warnings if something goes wrong. Automation can also be used to optimize fuel usage in order to reduce costs and emissions while still maintaining a high level of performance. If you’re interested in upgrading the systems in your vessel to be safer and more efficient, reach out to Tess LLC, a marine engineering team that has tons of experience in Marine Vessel Automation.
In short, automation continues to transform the industry in a number of different ways, from military robots to autonomous ships and drone-enabled tracking systems. Automation is not only making certain industries more efficient but also providing new opportunities for creative solutions and improved customer experiences. Though there are still plenty of challenges ahead, it’s clear that automation will continue to be a major force in the industry for the foreseeable future.