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World's first unmanned container ship tested May 27, 2018

On September 29, Kongsberg Maritime and the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturer, the Norwegian Yara Group, have teamed up with Marin Teknikk to design and build the model of the world’s first fully-automatic container vessel “Yara Birkeland”. Tested in the pool in Sintef. The model ship is 6 meters long and weighs 2.4 tons.

The "Yara Birkeland" will be the world's first fully electric feeder container ship, with zero emissions. After completion, the captain is 80 meters long and 15 meters wide, capable of loading 120 20-foot standard containers. The normal speed is 6 knots and the total speed is 13 knots. Although "YARA Birkeland" has a small cargo capacity, the formal operation of the vessel will become a huge turning point in the history of global shipping.

It is understood that "YARA Birkeland" can use its installed global positioning system, radar, cameras and sensors, etc. to be able to avoid other ships in the navigation channel and achieve its own stop at the end of the journey.

The "YARA Birkeland" has a very small payload and can only load 100 to 150 containers. The cost is 25 million U.S. dollars, which is about three times the cost of ordinary ships. However, due to the adoption of purely electric and driverless design, it will save up to 90% of the operating cost per year by saving fuel and personnel costs.

"Yara Birkeland" is scheduled to begin trial operation in the second half of 2018. It was initially operated on a manned vessel with a small number of crew on board. These crew members will be housed in a container-based, removable modular unit. By 2019, it will be turned into a remote operation and it is expected that it will be completely autonomous by 2020.

"Yara Birkeland" will be responsible for transporting the Yara Bosgren production plant to Breivik and Larvik. It is expected that it will be turned to remote operation in 2019 and fully operational since 2020, when the ship will The ports of Persiglen, Brevik and Larvik are completely autonomous.

It is reported that KONGSBERG Marine will be responsible for providing all key energy technologies required by the "Yara Birkeland", including sensors and integrations required for remote and fully automatic operation, as well as electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.

Yara Chief Executive Officer Svein Tore Holsether said that the new battery-powered unmanned container ships will help shift transportation from the road to the sea, reducing noise and dust emissions, improving local road safety, reducing nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide emissions. the amount.

According to Yara’s plan, once regulation can keep up, the company will build larger drones and even consider shipping chemical fertilizers from the Netherlands to Brazil. If operational costs can also achieve similar savings, these unmanned ships will become the lifeline of the global shipping industry in the future.