This paper is concerned with the legislative change which would have to take place if an automatic collision avoidance system were to be implemented.
The principle of complementary action, and the role of coordination in achieving that action is considered. Current collision avoidance practice is discussed, noting the coordination attributes of the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea, and the responsibility placed on the mariner by the regulations. The processing element of an automatic collision avoidance system is considered in the light of current judicial practice.
The paper concludes that the implementation of an automatic collision avoidance system is incompatible with the current collision regulations and the supporting judiciary. It is suggested that successful implementation will require the recognition of a discrete rule base.