If you thought autonomy would just be pushed to cars, well, you are wrong. The principle of autonomy can be applied to other modes of transportation as well, including but not limited to ships. Two Norway-based companies have decided to show that the same technology can also be used on seafaring vessels as well. They have teamed up to build the world’s first electric and autonomous crewless ship.
Yara International and Kongsberg Gruppen are the two Norwegian companies that are working on this project called the Yara Birkeland. Construction work on the vessel has begun and is slated to be completed by late next year.
As previously mentioned, this is going to be the world’s first crewless, autonomous ship powered by electricity. Once the ship is ready, it will carry fertilizer to a production facility located at the port of Larvik. It will essentially cover a 37 mile route.
The ship has the capacity to transport 100 containers and at $25 million, it costs almost three times as much to build as a conventional ship. However, since it doesn’t require crew or fuel, the annual operating costs will be quite low and thus lead to enormous savings in the long run.
The companies are planning to build bigger ships in the future that can be used on longer routes but it will wait on the International Maritime Organization to come to a decision regarding regulations for autonomous vessels before doing so.