Japan's transport ministry will set up a panel this month to consider how self-navigating ships can be put into practical use.
The ministry says that in the past 5 years, human error was the cause of about 8,300 maritime accidents in Japanese waters. The figure is 77 percent of the total.
Self-piloting vessels are said to be safer as the crew members can focus on keeping watch. They can also alleviate labor shortages.