KONGSBERG said it has signed a Research & Innovation (R&I) contract with technology acceleration organization PILOT-E for the development of zero emission, full-electric, autonomous ferry concepts. The overall vision for the PILOT-E Autonomous Ferry concept is to develop a state-of-the-art ferry as an integrated, zero emission aspect of a total national transportation plan.
The PILOT-E program, a collaboration between the Norwegian Research Council, Innovasjon Norge and Enova, is designed to accelerate time to market for cutting-edge technology concepts, while at the same time ensuring that the solutions produced are viable and sustainable. Its goal is to ensure that the benefits of advanced projects result in actual deliveries to the market.
For KONGSBERG, the R&I contract provides partial funding for developing new autonomous functionality such as Auto Docking and Auto Sailing, giving the Norwegian maritime technology specialist the momentum to continue its pioneering development of autonomous functionality for commercial vessels.
KONGSBERG said it has already established a number of key industry partnerships on projects that will result in new connected, autonomous and environmentally friendly ships within the next two years, including the YARA Birkeland container feeder and the Hrönn offshore service vessel.
To fulfill the PILOT-E mission, KONGSBERG is heading a consortium with Grenland Energy on marine battery technology, Fjellstrand shipyard on vessel design, Grønn Kontakt on the charging of electric cars both quay-side and on board, and NTNU as a research partner within autonomy and energy management. The partners in the PILOT-E project have been chosen due to their complementary technology and a shared ambition of developing robust solutions for the future.
An-Magritt Tinlund Ryste, Project Manager, Kongsberg Maritime, said, “The stakes are high and the autonomy vision is materializing as we speak. The PILOT-E Autonomous Ferry project introduces a new mindset encouraging us to look beyond the traditional organizational setup. To meet the ambitious time-to-market expectations, we must really adopt the true meaning of collaboration and step-up the work across technological areas within KONGSBERG and between partners, to harvest the best from each area of expertise.”