The Navy's review of the year's warship-related mishaps includes recommendations to help prepare the fleet to deal with self-driving robotic vessels that'll soon be crowding the seas, Defense One reported.
Among the recommendations are to accelerate plans to upgrade electronic navigations systems and teach crewmen to use automatic identification systems, or AIS, to broadcast their locations to nearby ships.
"In each of the three collisions, the U.S. Navy ships involved had an AIS receiver and transmitter, but maintained their AIS in receive mode only," noted the 177-page review that was released Wednesday, according to Defense One. "This removed one of the primary awareness and collision avoidance tools used on board most commercial vessels around the world."
Future vessels will be even more reliant on tools like AIS, which may even replace human operators.
Japanese, Chinese and Norwegian shipbuilders have all announced plans to build self-driving robotic vessels — and Google, working with RollsRoyce, aims to develop autonomous ship driving techniques, Defense One reported.
Admiral John Richardson, chief of Naval Operations, said the Navy has too few people with too little training driving too few ships, and recent deadly mishaps were "fundamental mistakes of ship driving" compounded by issues related to operational pressures, Defense One reported.
Asked if robotic ship drivers would help, he replied: "We've done a lot of examination of that, Navy-wide, outside of the comprehensive review."
"It's making progress. We're monitoring that closely," he said, Defense One reported.
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