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The Societal Impacts of Autonomous Ships: The Norwegian Perspective.


It is often assumed that the driving force behind autonomous ship discussions is reduction in crew cost or societal concerns like improved maritime safety due to reduction in human errors, better working conditions for crew in land-based control centers, or sustainability goals achieved through higher efficiency and lower emissions. But in assessing actual projects that are underway other factors also stand out. For the container ship Yara Birkeland, for example, the major drivers were reduction in local truck transport through urban areas and the realizing of a completely green electric transport. For ASKO cargo ferries, improved reliability of their inter-warehouse transport was a significant additional factor. This chapter will discuss possible societal benefits and potential drawbacks of autonomous ships, as presented in literature as well as from our own research particularly from the European Union (EU) projects Advanced, Efficient and Green Intermodal Systems (AEGIS) and Autonomous Shipping Initiative for European Waters (AUTOSHIP), and the Norwegian project “Smartere Transport”. The focus is on cargo transport, but some concerns for passenger transport will also be explored. The analysis is mostly qualitative, but some quantitative key performance indicators (KPI) will be proposed. The perspective is mainly Norwegian, a society with a high living standard and a sparsely populated nation, where advanced ship technology is a necessary part of life and in general positively regarded. Nevertheless, many of the observations are deemed highly applicable to other countries and regions.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper


  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 320798




  • SINTEF Ocean / Energi og transport




Palgrave Macmillan


Autonomous Vessels in Maritime Affairs - Law and Governance Implications




357 - 376

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