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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.

You've Heard Of Self-Driving Cars, But How About Autonomous Ships?
YARA / Kongsberg Gruppen
SMS

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.

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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.