How Robots Are Changing the Future of Cruising

Contents Show

Anyone who has sailed over the past few years knows that cruise ship technology has advanced, so nearly every aspect of your time on board has been impacted.

From trip-planning apps to robotic bartenders, tech has changed how we look at cruising.

Bionic Bar cruise ship technology
Bionic Bar in Symphony of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

It’s also changing how ships are built as new robotic technology is increasingly being used at shipyards and throughout the maritime industry.

Introducing the Latest Cruise Ship Technology

Under the best circumstances, new technology serves multiple purposes, from decreasing costs to increasing productivity. In the case of the newly-introduced Mobile Robot For Weld — or MR4WELD, all of those factors come together during crucial stages of cruise ship construction.

cruise ship technology
Mr4WELD demonstrates how it welds. (Photo via Fincantieri)

Remotely controlled by a single operator, MR4WELD offers greater flexibility, better safety, and lower costs for the industry.

As the product of shipbuilding giant Fincantieri and leading automation organization Comau, MR4WELD is currently in the testing phase.

Once fully implemented, the device should be able to take on many aspects of welding — a labor-intensive procedure crucial to the shipbuilding process — and potentially increase productivity threefold. 

Once testing is complete, the device will be deployed in Fincantieri shipyards, where it will autonomously weld together steel structures.

MR4WELD has a welding torch attached to a tracked undercarriage and a “vision system” to help identify welding joints.

As it’s taking on this task, it will also collect welding and production data, essentially tracking and reporting on its own work. Featuring a high payload, MR4WELD can function in any environment and collaborate with workers. 

The robot complies with the latest industry safety regulations, so it doesn’t need to be fenced in when working across different decks and producing superior-quality welds.

The Future of Robotics in Shipbuilding

msc seashore floated out cruise ship technolagy
MSC Cruises and Fincantieri shipyard executives watch as water enters the MSC Seashore dry dock during the float-out ceremony. (Photo via MSC Cruises)

While a welding robot may be a new development, robotics in shipbuilding has become increasingly common. Before COVID caused a shutdown of cruise lines and many of the yards in which ships are constructed, the development and use of robotics were booming.

And though the shutdown hurt the tech, it is not estimated that by 2028, the global demand for this type of technology will lead to it becoming a billion-dollar-a-year industry.

Unsurprisingly, the two Italian multinationals have set their sights on more than enhancing cruise ship technology.

With the modern-day welder they’ve jointly developed, they are considering expanding its use to other industries that employ sizable steel infrastructures.

Go Deeper: Norwegian Viva Floated Out at Shipyard

Share this post