An ambitious roadmap to press ahead with regulating autonomous ships has been agreed by the International Maritime Organization but a lot of work must still be done to create workable rules, says the association aiming to advance automation in maritime traffic.

The IMO’s 105th meeting of its maritime safety committee (MSC) last week finalised plans for setting definitions and operating requirements for autonomous vessels, crews and shore-based control centres.

The aim is for the roadmap to be a living document, that can change over time to take account of new developments, on the way to developing a goal-based framework code by 2025 or early 2026.