Starships now have crew on board. As in the most recent version of the original prototype, the crew on a ship are fully automated. Crew currently only have one job, which is to staff the ship's weapons and control room. In the future they will also have other tasks to perform, such as delivering ammunition and making repairs.
In order for a ship to have crew, you need to provide living quarters for them. In the current version of the game, there are two such rooms: A small "bunk" which provides space for 2 crew, and a larger "quarters" which provides space for 6 crew.