Fleets of drone freighter ships controlled and steered remotely by captains on shore may be reality soon. Rolls Royce and the EU are working on prototypes. Such ships are currently illegal under international law. Maritime unions are dead set opposed to the idea. However, given the rise of drones everywhere, drone freighters will no doubt happen too. One question: How do drone freighters protect themselves against piracy?
The company’s schematics show vessels loaded with containers from front to back, without the bridge structure where the crew lives. By replacing the bridge — along with the other systems that support the crew, such as electricity, air conditioning, water and sewage — with more cargo, ships can cut costs and boost revenue, Levander said. The ships would be 5 percent lighter before loading cargo and would burn 12 percent to 15 percent less fuel.