You've Heard Of Self-Driving Cars, But How About Autonomous Ships?

Governments and private companies are trying to apply autonomous travel to ships and other maritime vessels.
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 31, 2017

There's a good chance boats of the future might not need fuel, ship hands or even a captain to navigate the seas.

Two Norwegian companies are creating the world's first autonomously operated container ship. The $25 million vessel wouldn't need a crew or gas and might cut operating costs up to 90 percent.

SpaceX also uses autonomous tech for its spaceport drone ships. They're landing platforms for rockets returning from orbit.

And military forces are even harnessing the technology. Last year, an autonomous, submarine-hunting warship aptly named Sea Hunter was christened. It doesn't need humans to navigate obstacle-filled waters.

And small Navy ships can use the tech, too. In 2014, officials demonstrated 13 ships, some autonomous and some remote-controlled, could find an enemy vessel and escort a target to safety.