By Ray Ivie, LGS Innovations Group President, Integration and Operations Solutions
Spectrum management—and the human factor—are key to navigating an increasingly autonomous environment
It’s a dark night, but from above you can see navigational lights moving across a calm sea in a colorful, orchestrated traffic pattern. Minimally-manned ships sail past each other on their way to the next port or station, assisted by automated identification systems, avoidance radar, autopilots, and other increasingly automated controls.
Despite these advanced and increasingly autonomous navigation and control systems, accidents still happen—sometimes causing extensive damage, injuries, and fatalities, as with the collision in June between USS Fitzgerald and ACX Crystal, a container ship, off the coast of Japan. This was followed by the mid-August accident between USS John McCain and Alnic MC, an oil tanker, off Singapore.
As I write this, investigations into both collisions are ongoing, but I can imagine several feasible scenarios that may have contributed to this accident, or could easily cause the next one.