The pilot investigated how a completely new ship type, a battery-powered unmanned ship with zero emissions, can contribute to moving cargo from road to seaborne transport. The long-term ambition is to establish a standardized and autonomous shipping and logistics concept for the global market.
The idea is based on DNV’s autonomous concept ship, “ReVolt”, which was presented in 2014. The concept combined optimal zero-emission technology for a ship operating along parts of the Norwegian coast – without manning.
Through the pilot, Kongsberg has built important competence which was incorporated and further developed into a concrete shipbuilding project – the autonomous ship “Yara Birkeland”, where cargo handling and mooring are also automated. The ship will replace 40 000 truck trips a year between Yara’s fertiliser factory on Herøya near Porsgrunn and the shipping ports in Brevik and Larvik. The implementation of the pilot through Yara Birkeland has made it clear that the concept is realisable and sustainable.
The hull of Yara Birkeland was completed in Romania in February 2020 and will arrive at Vard Brattvåg, Møre in May 2020 for installation of systems and equipment. Based on the current covid-19 pandemic, Yara has decided to await further completion of the ship.
The experience and expertise gained from the project have also been used in the development of ASKO’s flexible and fully electric transport system with autonomous vessels across the Oslo Fjord between Moss and Horten, where construction was decided in May 2020.