LR Presents Ship Autonomy Classification Scale

With autonomous ships expected to enter service soon, Lloyd’s Register has issued a new ShipRight procedure which places these vessels in six different categories based on levels of their autonomy.

The guidance describes autonomy levels (AL) ranging from ‘AL 1’ to ‘AL 6’ denoting a fully autonomous ship with no access required during a mission.

“The levels provide a procedure to address the safety and practical issues required to meet classification, regulatory and market drivers,” Luis Benito, LR’s Head of Innovation Strategy & Research, said.

The ‘AL’ system provides clarity to designers, shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, ship owners and operators, enabling accurate specification of the desired level of autonomy in design and operations and paves the way to a clearer understanding of the investment opportunity/risk equation, the classification society said.

In addition, the ShipRight procedure “takes the user from identifying the ‘initial business’ need to a ‘systems-classed’ status and a ship, ultimately, in operation.”

According to Benito, autonomous shipping has become a reality and shipping will become cheaper as well as safer.

“We are only at the start of the cyber ship and a cyber-enabled shipping industry but we are making amazing progress. We are trying to help the industry adopt the data, digital and connectivity technologies could deliver benefits to shipping – and to help keep ships safe,” Benito added.

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