Pactera parent company HNA Technology Logistics Group establishes alliance to develop unmanned cargo ships

Recent improvements in AI technology have made self-driving cars and trucks a real possibility for the mainstream market. It has even been applied to large shipping trucks that haul cargo across the country. The benefits of more frequent shipping routes and fuel savings from automated self-driving trucks have piqued the interest of major corporations.

Pactera parent company HNA Technologies along with the Chinese Classification Society (CSS) hope to apply AI technology to the maritime shipping industry. They recently launched the Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance in Shanghai in June. Alliance members including Rolls Royce and Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding will work together on establishing technology and regulatory standards, assessment of environmental impacts, and the eventual commercialization of unmanned vessels.

Li Weijian, Vice Chairman of HNA Technology Logistics Group, stated that this newly created unmanned cargo ship development alliance will be the organizer and leader of future shipping development, facilitating the product rules of the technology.

While the benefits of unmanned cargo ships mean cost savings and increased revenue for the shipping industry, there are still many questions regarding the safety and environmental impact that unmanned cargo ships would create. The Alliance will cooperate with more scientific and technical research institutions to investigate these impacts.

Construction of the first unmanned cargo ship is expected to begin in 2019 and completed in 2021.