The idea breaks down to having ships that are controlled by computers that simply “follow the leader”. For these said computers, there would need to be two of them necessary in order for this idea to work out. A “receiving fleet train computer” in the ship want to follow yours, And a “Broadcasting fleet training computer“ in your ship to give directions to the other. The broadcasting controller would come in classes 1 through 8 with only one grade per class. Grade one allows you to control up to one extra ship, grade 2 allows you to control two, three allows you to control three, all the way up to class eight which allows you to control eight. These modules can also be stacked to allow you to control more ships at a time. On the autonomous ship side, the receiving computer would only come in class 7 and also be a bit expensive to ridiculously expensive to balance out how much money you can potentially make from it, which I will get into later.
For whatever shit you want to be autonomous, it will need to have the receiving fleet train computer, an advanced auto docking module, and a super cruise assist module. When you jump from one system to another, they will follow with you. Swinging by close to a star to scoop fuel? They will do the same. Targeting a specific orbital to land it? They will target the same orbital and super cruise assist to it. Any sort of orbital or landing station, as soon as they land, they will immediately request to be pulled down and inside to make room for actual players, because having 8 T9s hogging up an orbital would be quite rude. As they land, their cargo space sort of blends together with yours. As you buy up materials and resources, they will be distributed among all the ships as evenly as possible. If they were also some that we’re still waiting to dock, they would also be an indicator in the commodities market that would pop up when he went to buy some thing alerting you that not all of your fleet had landed yet.
As soon as you takeoff and leave the airlock of whatever orbital/station you are in, the other ships will immediately begin to follow you. As soon as all of them are outside of their mass lock range, you will be able to engage supercruise/jump.
How to offset why this remote controlling your ships equipment would be expensive:
Just to give you an idea, I did some math and plugged into EDDB on what kinds of money you would make from a random location with just one type nine versus controlling two with cargo space adjustments taken into mind. The results were about 30 million more for every six hops. Which raised it from 50M to 80M. From here, you can see how this would easily snowball. Your main ship would start holding less and less cargo space and more and more of these controllers to control an ever-growing fleet. Just imagine the sight of an Imperial Cutter dropping in next to an orbital with two dozen T9s filled to the brim with cargo in tow. This can also assist with fleet carrier owners to be able to clear out and sell things from their carriers much faster via bringing more to orbitals.
But of course, there is one major drawback that is more of a theoretical question with no defiant answer. What are the economic consequences of being able to have several dozen ships in tow carrying hundreds of tons of cargo each? With 16 T9s under the control of a single ship, you’d be able to buy up and sell more than 10,000 tons at a time. Would only the elite of players be able to do long-haul resource trucking because of how much that’s been bought out at a time? As I’ve said for, the hardest part about answering this question is that it’s all theoretical. Maybe the economy won’t be broken and there will just be elite rich players gaining tons of money. Maybe this would make trading with fleet carriers obsolete, as an imperial cutter guiding as many T9s as it possibly could under these constraints, you’d be hauling more cargo than a fleet carrier ever could hold. And it could do it with shields.
So, is this actually a good idea, or would this break the game, for better or for worse?
Also, I’d be happy to answer any clarifying questions.