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Maritime Autonomy Futures Lab
Wednesday 28th February 2018
On 28 February 2018, Policy Lab and
Department for Transport held a full day
session at Norton Rose Fulbright to look at
the future of Smart Shipping - and consider
the role of government in the sector.
The event convened attendees with a
wealth of maritime expertise - from the SME
community, shipping lines, port operators,
trade bodies, trade unions, insurers, lawyers
and academia - to assess how best to
maximise the benefits of new technologies
for the maritime sector.
- describes the process used in
collaborating with industry to
understand their views on the role of
government in supporting the sector;
- summarises discussions; and,
- provides images of the routemaps
which participants completed
throughout the day.
What we did
How it was all to get to the routemap and the three points
Who was there
After a welcome from the Minister for
Shipping, Nusrat Ghani MP we:
- Took participants through existing
evidence and expressed views on
the sector - and the future;
- Considered different perceptions of
vision and risk;
- Built our understanding of the range
of people impacted by Smart
- Developed a shared understanding
of headline challenges for the sector;
- Considered the government’s role
in supporting the sector.
Throughout the day, each table built a
routemap detailing what they thought needed
to happen. This allowed us to reach a
collective and holistic view on what Smart
Shipping means to industry and how the UK
can support the uptake, development and
use of these technologies, maximising the
benefit to industry and citizens.
What is happening in the wider world?
What we need to overcome?
It is important that Smart Shipping
policy is developed in collaboration with
industry (with a commercial focus), all
the while grounded in science and
evidence. Policy Lab and DfT developed
a series of ‘evidence cards’, each
showing a key piece of evidence relating
to the future of maritime autonomy.
Participants were encouraged to explore the
evidence and consider the following questions,
populating their routemaps as they go:
- What is surprising, interesting, missing?
- What is going to happen and when? What is
happening in the wider world?
- What do we need to overcome?
- Is our challenge right? What is the
problem we are trying to address?
We wanted to start by agreeing the
overarching project objective - we call this
‘challenge setting’ and use the prefix ‘How
can we…’ to think as a collective to solve a
Policy Lab and DfT set an initial challenge,
based on a policy team workshop in
How can we establish the UK to be a world
leader in the uptake, development and use of
Smart Shipping - where appropriate - and ensure
benefits are shared widely by industry and
Attendees adjusted the challenge
throughout the day. Modified challenges
and key considerations are detailed on
the following slide.
What is the challenge?
How can we learn from experience....
- Learn from successes and failures of autonomy in other sectors?
- Do for shipping what London did for the 2012 Olympics by focusing
on excellence not scale, whilst having multiple parties working
together to a common goal, leveraging the UK’s strengths
How can we set a regulatory framework....
- Drive regulation to the benefit of the global industry?
- Remove logjams; engage in dialogue with all stakeholders; come to
the regulatory table at the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
with a mature agenda; be the most powerful and influential voice at
the table; and ensure regulations are fit for purpose?
- Develop govt policy in multi-modal environment so UK doesn’t fall
How can we keep skills and workforce at
- Encourage new skills and identify them early?
- Make the sector great place to work, bringing new demographics
- Break down barriers for market entry?
How can we maximise cyber security?.
How can we diversify the sector....
- Allow disruptive tech to enter the maritime sector?
How can we capitalise and adapt....
- Capitalise on existing successes and a become world leader in
- Continually challenge the changes we make to ensure relevancy
and optimum choices?
How can we… promote the UK maritime sector in a
way that attracts the workforce of the future, making us
flexible and agile in addressing innovation and change? This
will maintain the strength of the UK as a leading maritime
nation with people at the heart of the challenge.
How can we… establish the UK to be a world leader in
the uptake and development of automated maritime
systems - leading in the creation of the wider legal and
regulatory framework - and ensure benefits are shared
widely by industry and citizens?
How can we… create the environment and
framework with attracts inward investment, expands
capital and protects the UK strengths in Smart Shipping?
How can we… proactively drive the development of
Smart Shipping - maximising the benefits of their creation
exploitation and support, for the whole of the UK,
accounting for the variety of systems, linkages and cultures
How can we… establish the UK to be a world leader in
the uptake, development and use of Smart Shipping - to
enhance supply chain efficiency along with a safe
Modified challenges Key considerations:
from the day
We asked each table to tell us three key
things to take away from the whole day
work in short
term while also
leading with IMO
in longer term
Need a safe
Make it easy for
companies to work
(funding, regulation, gvt
taking lead, test areas)
human is at
the centre of
(skills, message, jobs)
maritime sector as
an attractive career
choice to bring in the
Ensure the skills
the set clear targets.
backed and promoted
flagship projects on
Smart Shipping, Build
project be prepared
to learn from failures
and challenge doubters
regulation and taxation.
is an enabler.
Can’t have smart
“big picture” approach.
be clear on who
does what and
Play to our
approach i.e don’t
compete on scale
but on excellence
the way to
to establish trust
Define and setout a visionfor UK’sfuture role
Adapt domesticlegislation,making it asquick and easyas possible
will help with a
range of issues
Government should ensure
the environment for
test beds definitions)
To collaborate inthe resolution ofcommercial andsafety problems(wider sustainable issues,including environment,safety, cost)
Communicate:provide a clearvision, show theworld that theUK is serious
Provide clearfundingsupport formaritimeinnovation
at issues sector
identifies + coherent
(best possible UK return)
Education:solve the skillsgap issue across:industry,academia,government
of all partners
Don’t ignorethe humanelement
Autonomy is all
Regulatory framework. Create a domestic regulatory environment
which allows industry and others to innovate.
Partnership. Government and industry both have a role in driving change.
Leadership. Government has a role in leading the sector through its
convening and stewarding power. This will come through the development
of a clear vision and narrative about the future, a routemap on how to get
there and a clearly stated risk appetite.
Ambition. We need a shared ambition for the UK to be world-leading,
with clear areas where we are at the forefront.
Ends and objectives. We need a shared view of the ‘challenge’ and
what we need to do as part of the routemap.
Education and skills. Progress here will be people-driven. We need to
prepare for a new skills-mix and promote the sector as a great place to work.
Demonstration. There’s a role for government and industry in creating
‘test-beds’ and flagship projects which boost public awareness and
shows the ‘art of the possible’.
This was a Policy Lab project for the
Department for Transport. For enquiries
about Smart Shipping policy, feedback or
For more about Policy Lab:
Follow Policy Lab on twitter
(@PolicyLabUK) and check out our blog