Sweden launched the world's first electric-powered, self-driving/autonomous passenger ferryboat for commercial use. The vessel will be operated by the Norwegian shipping company Torghatten ASA (1878-founded, Bronnoysund-based) to transport passengers between Stockholm's Kungsholmen and Sodermalm islands.
The aim of this project is to promote sustainable urban transportation. The idea of developing autonomous passenger ferries originated from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, which led to the founding of Zeabuz, a company that Torghatten AS co-owns.
The electric ferry is a high-speed catamaran (built by Brodrene Aa ASA) with length 12 m, an open and covered passenger deck (with ship entrances at both ends) and max capacity 25 passengers. It will start operating in Stockholm from June 2023 for 15 hours a day, running continuously on electricity.
Torghatten has ensured that the autonomous technology is safe and tested, with an operator on board initially to monitor operations during the ferry's crossings. The ultimate goal is to expand the concept globally.
Reidun Svarva (Torghatten's Chief Business Development Officer) said many large cities around the world had problems with congestion, lack of capacity, and environmental and air pollution. Self-driving technology would be part of the solution and good for both the climate and people.
“Instead of being barriers, the water surfaces will sew the city together and become a shortcut for all Stockholmers.”