GCaptain published an article highlighting the huge growth the autonomous marine technology market is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. Key points include:
While the maritime world struggles with COVID-19, one industry segment continues to grow at a rapid pace: Marine Autonomy. With companies like the MIT startup, Blksail completing autonomous trials remotely, autonomous inland shipping companies like ZULU Associates preparing to enter the New York market, and larger scaleups like Sea Machines closing large strategic investment deals, the rapid growth of autonomous solution providers is impressive.
The U.S. Navy and the NOAA has also made rapid progress in vessel autonomy by signing a new agreement to jointly expand the development and operations of unmanned maritime systems in the nation’s coastal and world’s ocean waters.
One reason for the growth in autonomous solutions is a large number of mariners unable to sign off ships because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. While smarter ships might help with these problems, many of the deals we are seeing today are not positioned to replace commercial mariners.
In summary, the article states: It is unclear how the broader industry will perform in the post-coronavirus world but it is clear that marine autonomy will play a large and critically important role.