The first electric cargo ship without a crew will set off on its maiden voyage this year

Unmanned cargo transportation is more often mentioned in the news in conjunction with trucks and aircraft, but water transport is an equally promising area for the introduction of advanced technologies.


According to the source, by the end of 2021, Yara International plans to send the first fully electrically powered autonomous cargo ship to sail. Yara Birkeland will operate between the Norwegian ports of Herøi in Brevik. Three remote control centers will monitor his movements.


Yara specialists developed the concept back in 2017, and the first flight was scheduled for 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the implementation of plans to be delayed. The source notes that this is not the first ship without a crew (an unmanned Finnish ferry was launched back in 2018), but this is the first all-electric model of its kind.


The maximum speed of the vessel is 13 knots. It is driven by two propulsion systems with a capacity of 900 kW, powered by a 7 MWh battery. The company estimates that using the Yara Birkeland will replace about 40,000 truck trips a year, dramatically reducing emissions.

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