After cars and trucks, companies are now investing in making autonomous self driving Cargo ships. In a recent report by Wall Street Journal, 2 companies from Norway have recently planned to roll out tests for autonomous Cargo ships by the year 2018. Yara International ASA and Kongsberg Gruppen are building Yara Birkeland, the autonomous cargo ship and it is expected to run without any human power, soon.
As stated by Kongsberg Gruppen, the ‘Birkeland‘ will feature similar technologies that are being used for making the autonomous cars. The Ship will have a storage capacity of 100-150 twenty-foot equivalent units where battery will be the source of power primarily. The ships will also be laded with cameras, LIDARS, sensors and RADARS to perform various autonomous functions.
Yara International, has been in the business to grow distributor’s, farmer’s and industrial customer’s business profitably by providing solutions that are environment friendly and helps to protect the resources well. Yara has been exporting almost 20,000 containers to International markets from the city of Heroya in Norway. They wanted to reduce the commercial export of goods by replacing the diesel powered trucks to something that is environment friendly.
Yara, then collaborated with Kongsberg Gruppen to build Yara Birkeland, the autonomous zero emission feeder.
Keeping the marine environment in concern, the cargo ships will be 100% electric i.e. totally battery powered and ballast free. They will follow autonomous mooring, autonomous sailing (with the prepared routes) and will be equipped with sensors for safe navigation. 24/7 operational support will also be provided.
In the beginning, Yara plans to test out their ships in smaller routes of Southern Norway. ‘Birkeland’ will be tested in the port cities of Heroya, Brevik and Larvik for a distance of 37 Nautical miles. According to Kongsberg, they plan to build 3 operational centers each for managing Birkeland’s condition, decision-making in certain situations and general surveillance.
‘Birkeland’ is a part of the first test for autonomous ship that will be carried out ( There were rumors that Rolls Royce is also trying out this ) . The project will prove to be cost effective as it will be carrying less human resources and no fuel – which are some of the areas that will make a breakdown in costs. With so many benefits, the two companies have taken major steps to build autonomous ships. When we have already seen companies like Tesla and Lyft who have planned the launching of autonomous cars by the year 2018, even autonomous ships won’t be a far fetched dream now. This will be a win-win situation for all as it is not only cost effective but also good for the environment. According to Kongsberg, by the year 2020, they will be ready to bring down autonomous self driving cargo ships into run. This will be a major breakthrough in the autonomous self driving part, and we an’t wait to watch this happening!