When one tries to identify the few positive outcomes from the pandemic, one is certainly the pace with which digitalisation has been pushed forward in recent months. Not only but particularly in the maritime business, the digital transformation is accelerating and has become more visible than before. The number of different approaches and applications in this field is impressive. They range from automated steering systems to digital port calls, intelligent safety arrangements and forward-looking monitoring set-ups. Enough innovative and sophisticated developments to fill yet another issue of our SmartShip Special Edition. The great diversity is also reflected by the nine categories we have chosen this year. Most of the topics we are covering, however, combine several key areas of autonomy, digitalisation and smart operation. What might be different compared with previous issues is that crew matters – the human factor – have once again come into sharper focus. Without properly trained and healthy people on board, the best technology will not yield optimal results. Among other things, this is highlighted in the article “The main drivers for digitalisation”, starting on page 26.
What was also striking when putting this publication together is the enormous ambition of classification societies all around the world. They are currently putting huge effort into helping owners, yards and suppliers alike understand and use the most appropriate digital technologies for their needs. The 2021 SmartShip Edition bears witness to this in several places.