Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Zeabuz

Autonomous vessels for urban waterways 

Mobility & Transport

The electric ferries are emission-free and run routes that can be adjusted as needed

Springwise: The global ferry industry faces increasing pressure to improve connectivity, both digitally and logistically. Sustainability and safety are two of the main challenges to achieving that. When viewed alongside research suggesting that the industry could provide $60 billion (around €56.6 billion) in global GDP along with more than one million jobs, there appears to be ample opportunity for the industry to innovate. 

Zeabuz, a spin-off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems, is helping drive necessary change. The company provides an autonomous electric ferry system that carries people, vehicles, and goods.

A set of five sensors that include radar and lidar (light detection and ranging) make it possible for the vehicle to navigate large open spaces and operate in conditions with low visibility. Algorithms that have been trained on a digital twin analyse the sensor data to provide the safest, shortest route to the destination and then continuously update the path as needed during the journey.  

Video source Zeabuz

An emissions-free system, the first Zeabuz ferry is called milliAmpere 2 and will be deployed in Stockholm in the summer of 2023 as the company’s first commercial operation. Capable of running 24 hours a day, the system reduces reliance on traditional crew members while providing opportunity for new employment in the field of autonomous transport. 

The system can help current operators maximise the efficiency of their routes, as well as introduce more departure times and add or subtract connections as demand fluctuates. Zeabuz recently raised €1.8 million in seed funding that will be used to expand its operations.  

Autonomous transport options are in development in a range of countries, with Springwise spotting a ferry concept in Germany, and an autonomous tram design for Hong Kong.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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