Autonomous vessels: State of the art and potential opportunities in logistics
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- Discussion papers (FOR) 
The growth in technology on autonomous transportation systems is currently motivating a number of research initiatives. This paper first presents a survey of the literature on autonomous marine vessels in general. By identifying the main research interests in this field, we define nine thematic categories. The collected articles are then classified according to these categories. We show that research on autonomous vessels has increased dramatically in the past decade. However, most of the published articles have focused on navigation control and safety issues. Studies regarding other topics, such as transport and logistics, are very limited. While our main interest is the literature on autonomous vessels, we contrast its development with respect to the literature on autonomous cars so as to have a better understanding about the future potentials in the research on autonomous vessels. The comparison shows that there are great opportunities for research about transportation and logistics with autonomous vessels. Finally, several potential research areas regarding logistics with autonomous vessels are proposed. As the technology behind remote-controlled or autonomous ships is maturing rapidly, we believe that it is already time for researchers in the field to start looking into future water-borne transport and logistics using autonomous vessels.