Two Norwegian companies joined forces to build the world's first autonomous, all-electric, zero-emissions container ship. Named "YARA Birkeland” and dubbed by shipping executives the “Tesla of the Seas,” the vessel is currently under development and its operation is planned to start in the second half of 2018.
YARA Birkeland, will initially operate as a manned vessel, moving to remote operation in 2019 and expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020.
Oslo-based agriculture firm Yara International and Kongsberg Maritime, an international, knowledge-based group which builds guidance systems for civilian and military uses, entered into partnership to build the new vessel which will reduce NOx and CO2emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys in populated urban areas.
The vessel will sail within 12 nautical miles from the coast, between 3 ports in southern Norway. Loading and unloading will be done automatically using electric cranes and equipment. The ship will also be equipped with an automatic mooring system. To ensure safety, three centres with different operational profile are planned to handle all aspects of operation. These centres will handle emergency and exception handling, condition monitoring, operational monitoring, decision support, surveillance of the ship and its surroundings and all other aspects of safety.
The 100 -150 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) open top container vessel “will be a game-changer for global maritime transport contributing to meet the United Nations sustainability goals,” according to the companies.
In 2016 Kongsberg teamed up with the UK’s Automated Ships Ltd to build what they claimed would be the world’s first unmanned and fully-automated vessel for offshore operations. If all goes as planned the offshore vessel, named Hrönn,could enter service as the world’s first full-size unmanned ship as early as 2018, Gcaptain.com reported.
Norway, a major oil producer, has been a leader in the adoption of electric cars and has experimented with electric-powered ferries to cross its famous fjords.