From a Rolls-Royce Press Release:
Speaking at the Symposium Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce, Vice President of Innovation – Marine, said: “This is happening. It’s not if, it’s when. The technologies needed to make remote and autonomous ships a reality exist. The AAWA project is testing sensor arrays in a range of operating and climatic conditions in Finland and has created a simulated autonomous ship control system which allows the behaviour of the complete communication system to be explored. We will see a remote controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade.”
This not all that surprising as shipping labor costs are high and there are opportunities for savings from fuel efficiency. And, the logistics industry in general is going through a sea-change of automation potential from self-driving trucks, delivery drones, 3D printing, and warehouse robots. Ocean carriers don't want to be left behind.