Norway Introduces "World's First" Autonomous Electric Ferry

Norway Introduces "World's First" Autonomous Electric Ferry

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) successfully wrapped up the operational trial sailings of the MilliAmpere 2, the world’s first urban autonomous passenger ferry.

The trial period was the first time the electric self-propelled passenger ferry was tested in metropolitan waterways. Twenty passengers can board the ferry, however, during the three-week trial operation, this capacity was restricted to a maximum of 12 on each trip.

The autonomous monohull ferry developed by researchers and students from several academic areas provided a shuttle traffic service over the major channel between Trondheim and Bergen from late September to mid-October. Throughout the trial phase, the general public could ride the boat.

MilliAmpere 2 is a larger and improved version of MilliAmpere, an earlier NTNU-designed autonomous ferry prototype finished in 2016. It has a length of 8.5 meters and a beam of 3.5 meters.

the NTNU autonomous ferry in Norway

Rangefinders, cameras, lasers, and a Simrad radar are just a few collision avoidance sensors included in the newer vessel. In addition, the passenger ferry has four azimuthing thrusters powered by a battery pack for propulsion.

The initial prototype’s experience, according to NTNU, revealed the need for the hull to support more electronics. As a result, batteries, chargers, powerful computers, and a dynamic positioning system are now packed into the hold below deck.

Additionally, sensors have been fitted so that, if necessary, a worker in a land-based control center in Trondheim will have a better grasp of the circumstance and be able to assume control of the ferry.

According to the designers, the newest ship’s benches and railings are made of wood to give it a cozier feel than the original ferry. Additionally, the new construction offers a roomier deck, allowing people to wander around the space more freely.

According to Morten Breivik, an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Cybernetics at NTNU, crewless ferries like the MilliAmpere 2 will be much more cost-effective to operate than crewed ferries. They can be deployed more quickly on various routes as needed.

crowds on the dock greeting the new ferry

The ferries could increase demand for housing in the Trondheim neighborhood, particularly among young people who desire better access to transportation choices, says Breivik.

Zeabuz, a MilliAmpere 2 spinoff business, is commercializing the technology behind the autonomous electric passenger ferry. This firm is collaborating with the Norwegian ferry operator Torghatten to create an autonomous boat that will operate in Stockholm, Sweden, starting next summer.

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