Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Preventing Large Ocean Vessels from Crashing into Things #Science

Given the many thousands of years humans have been sailing, we really ought to be better at it by now but the record isn't looking so good when large ocean vessels crash into each other with some frequency.  Only days after the US Navy crash, a Cape Cod ferry crashed into some type of pier and, you know, maybe the captain just didn't see it.  That excuse works for people who whack motorcycle riders and they get away with it.

There's an answer but it will probably make you queasy.

Ship simulator.
Credit: Image courtesy of Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)

Right ... where can you get the home version of that.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing safe steering for the remote-monitored and controlled autonomous ships of the future. The new technology has been developed for navigation systems and ship autopilots, which steer ships automatically.

The ships of the future will largely be controlled by artificial intelligence. However, these autonomous unmanned vessels must be monitored and controlled on demand by land-based professionals. This trend sets new challenges also for autonomous ship navigation systems, which must be able to control ships in various situations.

(Science Daily:  New technology for autonomous ship navigation systems)

We have had enough flogging regarding the Age of Robos taking over everything but ... this is another one although we will hold that aspect in the background.  If there's any moral to the story, you need to worm your way into one of these control headquarters for ocean-going ships, multi-engine passenger jets, or any of the other aspects of the Age of Robos which creep people right out of their skins.

Age of Robos v2.0 will wipe out those jobs as well but that should take long enough for you to skate through your career, young grasshopper.

For the fullness, I'm forced to my own career since computers were still extremely new in the 70s, at least for mortals.  You have two choices with evolution since you can be a spectator with an unknown outcome or jump into it headfirst.  Not surprisingly, I chose the latter.

It invites introspection to review whether the decision was good or bad but the fundamental to it was I never lacked for job security until I got sick thirty years later.  There was never a break in employment from when it started until it ended other than due to motorcycle crashes of which, regrettably, there might have been more than one and those which only ended up with road rash didn't even make the scoreboard.  Note:  road rash hurts like bloody hell.

Difficult times are exciting times depending on your willingness to go with them rather than rolling over for whatever comes.  The result was I never had fear of computers and I was never a victim except when I did something incredibly stupid and deserved it.  Some of those stories are comical but they would just waste time here.  Briefly, there was one involving two decked-out Mac Pro computers on a makeshift desk which, regrettably, was not balanced correctly.  You may have already predicted that outcome but it was funnier than whatever you likely imagine.

This is shifting to Dalai Lama but why not.  Greeting the future with joie de vivre and joie de l'experience gives the strength you need and helps build the confidence that anything you don't know you can learn along the way.  That confidence is lacking in many so get some of that or maybe some of you are already heading to Finland so you can learn more about how to do this thing they're doing.  Bon voyage, sailors of the future.

There's all manner of poetry in bringing men back in from the sea which is hardly ever a good idea but this isn't about individuals anymore.  Maybe the Colonel will write about that but there's no predicting what that rascal may do.

Some of the most dominating figures in the Fraser line, my paternal grandfather and Uncle Stan, were captains of merchant vessels and big ones since we visited Uncle Stan on his ship and it was unbelievably cool but keep in mind I was about ten.  In any case, there's plenty of seawater in the family blood.  Nevertheless, it's evolution in action.

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