Industry 4.0 has favoured the expansion of many technologies where application boundaries are very diffuse. Although some technologies may have very specific applications, there are others much more open. The Shipbuilding Industry is quite traditional, however there are many advantages if the Industry 4.0 technologies could be applied from the beginning of the ship design to autonomous shipping. CAD/CAM tools are used to manage many data that must be considered in advance for the further stages of the ship lifecycle.
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality are closely related to the Digital Twin and interlaced with Big Data, which are generated by CAD tools and all surrounding solutions, which applies some cloud/edge/fog computing to these data in a merged technology between finite-state machines and Artificial Intelligence cognitive processes. To perform all these integrations in an agile manner requires a network which support different connections to add specific devices, i.e. Internet of the Things, which can access to the data, creating and modifying them, in a different layer which affects to the basic information layer created by the CAD/PLM tools in the shipyard and later on being used by the autonomous ships. This network should be secure, but also open to allow distributed work, which must be tracked such that all design or process modifications are recorded an open, transparent, trusted and non-modifiable working method for all stakeholders, like shipyard, engineering offices, classification society and ship owner.
This paper briefly summarizes how Industry 4.0 technologies may be applied to the shipbuilding, whether through direct integration or in connected periphery applications, and its application to autonomous ships.