Is it time for ships to sail off on a journey by themselves? As the Internet of Things (IoT) connects the world, while the robotics industry continues to innovate, man and machine are merging together like never before. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have impacted a number of industries from agriculture to security. If recent news is correct, it won’t be long before autonomous cars are traveling roads alongside us. Now, organizations and government agencies around the world are actively working to bring autonomous vessels to our oceans.

What can we expect from unmanned ships operating in our largest bodies of water?

IoT and robotics are being considered for a variety of commercial and military purposes at sea. For most of the world, it seems autonomous ships are in the testing phase, but there are big plans in the works around the globe:

These are just a few of the autonomous vessel projects in the works. In order for unmanned vessels to operate, it is clear the ability to transport data in massive amounts will play a critical role in the success and safety of those sharing the sea with autonomous ships. As technologies evolve to meet these big data needs, we can eventually expect to see more unmanned vessels in the sea, improving offshore applications, making human jobs safer, and creating new efficiencies for organizations looking to optimize international trade.