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Old 13-09-2017, 16:09   #1
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Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Would you consider this if it became available?

Self-Driving Boats Are About to Become a Thing
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Old 13-09-2017, 17:32   #2
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

I can see it now, self driving power boat on a collision course with your sailboat on starboard tack in light wind.

The self driving boat would automatically power up, leaving a huge wake as it crosses closely across your bow.....

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Old 18-09-2017, 07:49   #3
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tatomaceda View Post
Would you consider this if it became available?

Self-Driving Boats Are About to Become a Thing
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I thought we had that already; Autopilot, GPS, AIS, radar, what else do we need?
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Old 18-09-2017, 08:08   #4
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

I personally have no need for a humanless vessel, and would never consider buying one.
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Old 30-09-2017, 20:08   #5
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

That could be really great for search and rescue. Deploy a hundred of them with appropriate sensors and they could do a really good job maintaining a grid search pattern.
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Old 30-09-2017, 20:35   #6
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

If Windows ever gets to the point where it stops crashing or stops doing weird things, then I might consider it. Even the dumbest people are still smarter than the smartest computers. I would not be fond of idiot boats in my proximity.
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Old 30-09-2017, 21:47   #7
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
If Windows ever gets to the point where it stops crashing or stops doing weird things, then I might consider it. Even the dumbest people are still smarter than the smartest computers. I would not be fond of idiot boats in my proximity.
And yet you do at least some of your boating in the SF bay
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Old 30-09-2017, 21:55   #8
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Don't know how 'available' they are but they already exist (couldn't read the article with adblocker on).

Was working on the sailboat in the background of the picture of the RV below. Was curious about the nature of the 'research' it performed, because it never moved and looked pristine.

Finally, the owners and my path coincided and I got to ask some questions about it.

Turns out that the vessel itself is the research, in autonomous operation (although I assume that eventually it will be sold or contracted to the government or some such agency).

According to the guys I talked to, the vessel can be operated autonomously now, and they also have another one on the west coast.

They weren't very secretive, nor were they especially forthcoming, and could or would not offer much information about guidance or accident prevention....
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Old 30-09-2017, 22:06   #9
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

The only reason these things don't yet exist is that the market is much smaller than cars. But it's a lot easier problem to solve, and - just like the self-driving car - it doesn't need to be perfect to be good, only statistically better than an average human.

Given that computers don't drink, don't need to nap on a dog watch, and never take their eyes of (simultaneously) all 360 degrees of the horizon, radar, compass, depth sounder and AIS, making fewer mistakes than a human is not a very high bar.
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:20   #10
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
I can see it now, self driving power boat on a collision course with your sailboat on starboard tack in light wind.

The self driving boat would automatically power up, leaving a huge wake as it crosses closely across your bow.....
Pretty much what happens NOW with idiots people driving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
...Even the dumbest people are still smarter than the smartest computers. I would not be fond of idiot boats in my proximity.
I wish I had your faith in our dumbest people. But I do share your preference for avoiding idiots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHerring View Post
...it doesn't need to be perfect to be good, only statistically better than an average human.

...making fewer mistakes than a human is not a very high bar.
+1
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:31   #11
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Well, golly, fully autonomous boats or ships.

The first principle in asset management is: All physical objects will fail. The question is how to manage that failure. In spite of the 'cyber' label, electronic systems and computers exist in the physical world.

The second principle is: Electricity, including electronic systems, and the salt water environment equal green gunge. That means a much higher failure rate at sea than in test environments on shore.

There is more to standing watch than driving the ship. One, maybe archaic value today, is responding to and rescuing others in distress. This is a very long standing tradition in seafaring. Maybe that is now super-ceded by the desire to maximize profits by removing the last few crew on a ship? Not to mention automation creating unemployment.

The oceans are not "a wide open space." Yes, in some passages we don't see anyone for days. But, in a passage from Hawaii to Oregon in 2010 we found ourselves in the median space between east and west bound shipping. Think LA to China and back. The optimal route is the same for every ship. A ship every two to three hours. One moment four ships were visible, that is within 6 nm, and the deck officers were talking to each other on VHF as to how to avoid this tiny 35' sailboat. The deck officers were very professional and attentive.

Take a look at this: https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais...ry:28.4/zoom:4
Give it a moment to load...

Tiny autonomous drones for SAR may be advantageous. But any vessel large enough to damage you or sink you? Think the 30,000 ton freighter down to the 30 ton itinerant fishing boat. Probably not a great idea.

Automated systems may be more reliable, hour after hour, than humans: Until they fail. But, humans are much better at creative problem solving in a unique situation. Do you believe that software programmers have fully evaluated all situations that may arise at sea? Do you believe that "Armchair captains in a remote operation center could be monitoring several ships at a time, sitting in a room with 360-degree virtual reality views" can fully understand the environment around them? Especially if the 'armchair captain' is responsible for more than one vessel?

AIS has been a great addition. I can now call the ship within a defined CPA and TCPA by name, on VHF 16. That gets their attention right now. With an autonomous ship, sure the VHF call may be routed to an 'armchair captain', assuming all systems are working correctly. In order to ask them if they see me, and please do not hit me. You draw the critical dependency diagram. So, in essence I am placing a VHF ship-to-ship call to a 'help center' in ... where?

Best of luck.
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Old 03-10-2017, 03:35   #12
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Self-driving != crewless. There is going to be a requirement that a human is in charge and manual control overrides are available for a loooong time after these things are introduced.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:00   #13
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

I think this, and its equivalent in cruising, are the immediate future. I think cars will be up first and technology like this has always trickled down from cars to boats.

Driverless boats will not stop someone from buying a 'real boat' and driving it. I hope ;-)

If you look at how charter catamarans are operated from their bases in the Caribbean, it is clear that at least these could already by 100% automated.

We are looking towards safer, and likely more boring, sailing.

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Old 03-10-2017, 08:16   #14
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbunyard View Post
Don't know how 'available' they are but they already exist (couldn't read the article with adblocker on).

Was working on the sailboat in the background of the picture of the RV below. Was curious about the nature of the 'research' it performed, because it never moved and looked pristine.

Finally, the owners and my path coincided and I got to ask some questions about it.

Turns out that the vessel itself is the research, in autonomous operation (although I assume that eventually it will be sold or contracted to the government or some such agency).

According to the guys I talked to, the vessel can be operated autonomously now, and they also have another one on the west coast.

They weren't very secretive, nor were they especially forthcoming, and could or would not offer much information about guidance or accident prevention....
I am berthed near that vessel, I understand it's doing something military.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:38   #15
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Re: Self-Driving Boats Anyone?

How many horror stories have you heard about power boats with fly by wire controls screwing up? Salt water and these minute electrical connections are not friends!
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