Container ships usually require experienced crews. But Japan's largest shipping company is testing out a technology it says can operate the vessels with no humans on board.
NYK Line and other companies involved in the project say they are responding to a serious labor shortage in the industry. They have given the media a look at their recently completed operation center.
The facility is in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo.
Experienced sailors usually select efficient shipping routes. But computers are doing the job at the operation center. GPS monitors the position of each ship and assesses accident risks.
Humans in the control room can quickly take over in case of emergencies.
Team leader Nakamura Jun says," By introducing the new technology, we will let machines do the job humans once did. This will ultimately reduce the burden on employees. That's our goal."
They hope to put the technology into practical use by 2025.