Tesla has just released their "Autopilot 2.0" with a second camera
that can react to traffic lights among other things. Apparently the previous system needed a car in front of it to know when to stop.
So, with this technology starting to go mainstream, I wonder when we will see autopilots for vessels that are 'smart'? What I am envisioning is technology that could use radar
sensors, barometers, GPS
forecasts and vision systems to all feed to the autopilot
When cars can drive themselves autonomously through city traffic, I would think that sailing across the oceans should be possible (and much simpler).
Can you imagine telling your boat your destination
and maybe some way points and hit the 'go' button before retiring for a nice nap? Floating containers, deadheads, crab traps or whales - not a problem, other ships - not a problem. Even a major shift in weather
could be accounted for given the right level of technology.
I have already read stories about freighters/tankers and other commercial
ships that will run unmanned or with severely reduced crew. Sailing vessels, although a bit more complicated, should also be able to run on their own. Any situation that the autopilot
can not handle such as a major sail adjustment would just result in a notification to the crew (wake up call?).
Who needs crew on watch if technology can do the job?
Obviously there needs to be enough checking going on behind the scenes to know if something is amiss with the system but I am sure that is already taken care of in automotive technology and can easily be adopted. Any kind of failure could easily alert the crew to allow for repair or more likely circumvention of the defective sensor with possibly just a reduced level of functionality.
Exciting times ahead .... !!!!!
Anyway, just throwing this out for discussion to see what people think .....