This week’s talk was given by Gordon Meadow, who is a PhD researcher at the University of Southampton.
His talk focused on the developing field of autonomous shipping. Gordon’s goal for his PhD is to develop and redefine the seafaring pedagogy to include autonomous shipping capabilities. Gordon took us through all of the viable options that are being tested for autonomous shipping in order to better understand the research he is conducting. According to Gordon, his research will be conducted on the basis of understanding competency requirements in order to inform future pedagogy, determining the impact, ways and extent to which shipping’s global pool of seafarers training needs would be affected.
The issues with autonomous shipping were discussed during the Question and Answer session. While other sectors are currently moving into more autonomous operations (such as planes and military equipment), none of the other sectors can compare to the sheer numbers seen in shipping. On top of the question of numbers, there is also the concern that not all countries can afford this type of upheaval in the shipping industry–how would autonomous shipping, therefore, be affected if only some ships are running autonomously?
Overall, Gordon’s talk was extremely informative, as many of those who attended did not realise that this type of technology exists. The conversation surrounding the negative (and positive) aspects of autonomous shipping gave us all a lot to think about!