The maritime industry is joining the discussion introducing drones in their business model. What about developing unmanned cargo ships?
The system would be similar to that of unmanned aircraft where a pilot operates the drone from a location thousands of miles away. With the floating drone, the captain operates the vessel from a command center located anywhere in the world.
A crewless vessel would be cheaper to operate, as it would not need the space for the crew, and the facilities they need during a voyage. In addition, the cost of the crew would be almost eliminated so the shipping company would further reduce costs. Of course, any company wanting to deploy floating drones would have to lobby to change the international conventions that currently do not allow unmanned ships. Being seaworthy equals insurance, so the laws would need to change make business-sense.