World's first autonomous electric container ship unveiled in Norway

Fertilizer company Yara has unveiled the world's first fully electric Birkeland self-driving container carrier. The vessel is preparing to sail along the southern coast of Norway, after which it will become an important part of the country's plans to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

World's first autonomous electric container ship unveiled in Norway

The 80-meter autonomous container ship will reportedly be used for freight between Yara's plant in Porsgrunn in southern Norway and the export port in Brevik, which are 14 kilometers apart. The electric container ship is expected to enter service early next year.

At the initial stage, the ship will be controlled by a person, and it will become fully autonomous only in two years. The container ship will be able to load and unload cargo, as well as charge batteries without human intervention. The ship's design uses Kongsberg and Vard solutions, including sensors, as well as other hardware and software, on the basis of which the autonomous control system is implemented.      

The commissioning of an electric container ship will reduce carbon emissions by 1,000 tonnes per year. For Yara, this is a significant reduction in emissions, as the company's Porsgrunn plant is one of the largest emitters of CO₂ in Norway. “We took this technological leap to show that this is possible, and I think there are so many routes in the world that this type of vessel can navigate, ” says Yara Director Svein Tore Holsether.

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