Norway has confirmed it's planning to launch its first autonomous and fully electric cargo ship next year. The vessel will help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by saving tens of thousands of truck journeys annually.
The project's supporters said in Oslo Wednesday the skipper-less e-ship would reduce the number of truck journeys by 40,000 per year.
Fertilizer company Yara International has teamed up with industrial group Kongsberg to build the Yara Birkeland, which is to haul fertilizers between three ports in southern Norway.
With a range of 65 nautical miles, the ship would be able to transport roughly 100 containers at a speed of 12 to 15 knots, Project Director Bjorn Tore Orvik said in a statement.
He mentioned that initially the vessel would be manned, with remote operation expected to begin in 2019 and fully autonomous navigation to start in 2020.
Taking e-mobility to another level
"Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from Yara's Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world," Yara CEO Svein Tore Holsether said.
"With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce NOx and CO2 emissions," he added.
Ornulf Jan Rodseth from the Sintef Ocean research institute pointed out that some 90 percent of global goods trade was done by sea, alluding to autonomous becoming big business potentially and long-term.
While Norway is a major oil producer, it has been a leader in the use of electric cars thanks to generous tax incentives. The country has also experimented with electric-powered ferries to cross its famous fjords.
hg/jd (AFP, dpa)