Japan’s autonomous push: Automating half of their cargo ships by 2040

Japan wants to make half of its cargo ships autonomous by 2040

Japan’s aging population, coupled with low birth rates, means that its workforce is shrinking rapidly, which has negative implications for the economy.

It is in the best interest of the Japanese to automate the most job functions possible (and it’s likely that the rest will not be far behind them, even though they may not have the same motivation). The Nippon Foundation reports that more than half the Japanese crew are older than 50.

The foundation, in partnership with Misui OSK Lines Ltd. recently completed two autonomous ship tests. The first test was conducted by a 313 foot container ship named the Mikage. It sailed 161 miles, from Tsuruga Port north of Kyoto to Sakai Port in Osaka. The ship could even steer itself to its designated bay after reaching its destination port, thanks to drones that dropped its mooring lines.


Japan Wants to Make Half Its Cargo Ships Autonomous by 2040