Emissions-free, self-driving cargo ship to launch in 2018

YARA’s fully electric and autonomous cargo ship will provide more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping.

With transportation development focused on self-driving trucks and delivery drones, it is easy to lose site of the similar need for advances in autonomous sea-based transportation. Now, Norwegian fertilizer company YARA and Norwegian technology company Kongsberg have begun to fill in that gap by partnering to develop and build the world’s first autonomous and zero emissions cargo ship, the YARA Birkeland. YARA plans to use the ship to transport fertilizer products from the company’s Porsgrunn production plant to international ports in Brevik and Larvik for onward shipping – eliminating 40,000 diesel truck journeys each year. “With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions,” explained Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of YARA.

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We already had emissions free ships a hundred years ago - everything is a cycle!! I really hope wind-powered cargo ships will make a comeback one day. With improved technology and weather prediction systems, they would be far more reliable.