Network of autonomous small cargo vessels ("Matternet" on the water)

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Matternetaqua, May 8, 2012.

  1. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I meant to say...

    The reason large ships are cheaper per ton has to do with economies of scale. A railroad is much more efficient at moving cargo (several magnitudes more) than a bunch of motor scooters.
     
  2. sabahcat
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    sabahcat Senior Member

    Some call them smart, I disagree
     
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  3. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    I see so-called Smart Cars totally useless for my purposes.
     
  4. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    I dont agree that automation has liberated man. What it has done has made a certain portion of the population basically unfit for any job. This is going to be an unpopular statement I know but for some people basic labour is all they want are willing or educated to provide. In the first world we remove their jobs make them unemployable and pay for them with social security instead. Take as an example checkout operators at supermarkets. The supermarkets are pushing to remove them by placing user operated self serve checkouts in their place. I've known quite a few people over the years who have been checkout operators for many years. They enjoy their job dont consider it menial and it provides employment and some extra money to help them live. Anybody who thinks that supermarkets will drop their prices due to the removal of checkout operators is deluding themselves. So pulling people off the boats and making them autonomous will not improve the lot of the people who would otherwise be manning those boats. It will just be depriving them of worthwhile employment.
     
  5. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    They would make ideal cars for a person who commutes daily into a city from a suburb... if they had a separate lane for them along with motorcycles and/or single person vehicles.

    Smart cars were the best lease deal out there when our car recently died and my wife really wanted one. But, after watching a crash video of one, we got a Honda Civic instead. The cage stayed intact quite well in the crash, however, the Smart car didn't weigh enough compared to the other car in the crash. This translated into a lot of velocity imparted to the Smart car - and seemingly HUGE accelerations inside the passenger compartment when the car flew through the air in the opposite direction from which it was traveling before impact.

    So, we did not get one, even though I did own one of the first new Minis in the USA.

    The new Civic is averaging 39 MPG highway and city combined, which is respectable. The Smart car is too dangerous to the occupants in crashes, from what I could see in the crash video. The accelerations look way too high.
     
  6. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Agree but other than a commuter car, they're basically useless. I can carry over a tonne of 'stuff' on my diesel flat tray utility including steel pipe etc up to 8m long (much to rwatson's annoyance).

    On the original topic, this is an idiotic idea and I speak as a person who was involved in an autonomous vehicle project for mine sites and one who has written a ton of software to direct/drive ship systems for deployment or retrieval of moored equipment in deep water.

    As pointed out, energy density isn't there.

    As pointed out, the things are a navigation hazard.

    As pointed out, people would loot them.

    Additionally, has anyone ever seen a river that doesn't rapidly and frequently change its depths, sand bars, floating hazards like logs etc etc? Just how much electronic crap is this small cargo carrier going to have on it to detect hazards, and how sophisticated is it going to be?

    I'd love the contract to project-manage its development. Think of the years I could spend stooging about on a boat fine-tuning the software at someone else's expense....

    PDW
     
  7. Milehog
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    Milehog Clever Quip

    Not to mention the question of repairs underway.
     
  8. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    That was my question, too. What's the point in trying to eliminate the human factor? I assume labor is cheap and readily available where you want to run these things. Seems to me putting a man aboard, and paying him a living wage for the area, would be less expensive and much more reliable.....
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member


    Only those that automation has replaced. A hand built car does not have the quality of a so called robot car, welds are specific and repetitive necessary for safety.

    Diversification of skills,---- build robots.

    Not many black smith around these days, or saddle makers.

    Shame the Titanic did not have more automation and any other catastrophic disasters we put up with from human error.
     
  10. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I put about 20,000 miles a year on my Nissan pickup, and most of it is straight freeway driving through the desert -- which definitely reduces the chances of getting into an accident to begin with. If I weren't less than three years from retirement, which will be the end of me making that drive, I'd seriously consider a Smart Car (but keep the pickup).

    Back in 1995 we bought a Geo Metro, which was also an extremely small car. But it had engineered-in features that would help in a collision -- like a motor mount setup designed to swing the motor down and under your feet in case of a head-on, instead of letting it jam straight back and take your legs off.

    I was rear-ended in the Geo once. The only damage was to the rear bumper and the exhaust, along with a cracked lens on one tail light assembly. The car that ran into me had a couple thousand dollars worth of damage....
     
  11. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Don't say rear ended. It means something completely different in English.

    But does make the post far more amuzing.
     
  12. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    Blacksmiths and saddlemakers were and are skilled jobs there is not the demand there once was but they still exist. Those skilled workers went on to work in other fields. Automobile manufacturing workers have been replaced wholesale with robots.

    I was thinking more of people who operate checkouts, toll booths, sold tickets at railway stations, worked as conductors on public transport etc. All fairly menial jobs by some definitions but gave employment to a significant number of people. There is a whole layer of employment that has vanished with automation in those areas.

    In Australia jobs like tram conductors were filled by migrants who took pride in their work and helped keep our trains and trams clean and prevented vandalism. They also helped mothers with prams and acted to improve the safety of fare paying passengers. The automation removed a deterrent to destruction of public property and shifted costs to other areas. Our dramas in Melbourne with Myki could have been solved with people manning our stations selling and checking tickets instead we have paid a fortune to get a computerised system operational. The amount of money that could have been saved would have paid a small army of people for 50 years. You were saying something about progress?
     
  13. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Yes, exactly. I've got a nice, serviceable Subaru sedan as well as my truck (pickup). Why drive a big vehicle if you don't need to.

    I see those small cars (like the Smart) as filling a market segment, for sure. Here, we can get the sophisticated small European diesels that do better than 5 litres/100 km (at a price) but as I understand it they're banned from the USA due to some EPA rule. I cannot see electric cars ever becoming more than a 'feel good' purchase until either there's a massive breakthrough in energy storage battery tech or fossil fuels really go through the roof - and maybe not even then. Those little diesels can do over 1000 km on a single tank and you can refuel in 5 minutes while taking a leak and getting a coffee to go. Electric vehicles are nowhere near that.

    PDW
     
  14. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Agree completely. This auto-boat could be stopped by a length of fishing line. If it had scanning sonar and/or radar for obstacle detection, you could stop it with half a dozen well placed pool noodles.

    A human driving an efficient o/b would be a far more appropriate solution (to a non-problem).

    PDW
     

  15. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    You're wounding the reputation of pool noodles everywhere, sir. I doubt it would take more than three or four of them....:D
     
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