Will Drone Cargo Ships Sail the Seven Seas?

Rolls-Royce’s plans for unmanned ships have raised industry hackles
Drone ship concept Courtesy Rolls-Royce Holdings

The prospects for driverless cars and aerial drones delivering packages for Amazon.com made headlines in 2013. But when Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce Holdings’ vice president for innovation in marine engineering, advocated drone cargo ships at an industry conference last May, the audience scoffed and other panelists dismissed the idea. The skeptics haven’t deterred the London-based maker of engines and turbines. “If everybody in the industry would say, ‘Yes, this is the way to go,’ ” Levander says, “then we are too late.”

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