Economy, Sci & Tech

Norway Making Autonomous Ships

Norway is the first in autonomous ship testing. Norway is the first in autonomous ship testing.

Trucks are not the only form of transport heading towards artificial intelligence. Norway is now reportedly experimenting with a new way to transport goods by autonomous electric ships. The Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships is creating a partnership between the Norwegian Maritime Authority and the Norwegian Coastal Administration to trial the new form of transport, according to Gas2.

Its mission is to “facilitate the testing of fully or partly unmanned vessels and to exchange experience and data to facilitate the development and use of such vehicles,” according to the forum.

The ships are currently being tested in Greenland and Norway, it added. NFAS suggests that autonomous ships could lower transportation costs but it is not talking about large container ships. Instead, it foresees a new generation of smaller vessels that can navigate in shallower waters and use pier facilities that do not require the enormous cranes used to load and unload containers in ports today.

These new electric ships would not need any superstructure to accommodate a human crew. No galley, no sleeping quarters, no bridge, and no common areas all add up to smaller, lighter vessels.

The self guided ships would use either batteries or hydrogen fuel cells to power their propeller systems.

The batteries would be recharged or the hydrogen replenished while the electric ships are in port in conjunction with the loading and unloading process. The technology for guiding ships autonomously is already under development for self driving cars and will involve an array of cameras, short range radar and perhaps Lidar to provide the data needed to steer the ship safely.

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