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World's first uncrewed freight route at sea in the Trondheimsfjord

Maritime Robotics has received approval to establish the world's first freight route for uncrewed cargo boats.

Posted by:
Maritime Robotics

March 2nd, 2023

The Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate have given the green light for the company to operate uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) on the route between Trondheim and Vanvikan. The Maritime Robotics’ uncrewed surface vehicle, the Mariner, has already been used to utilize the newly approved freight route. The company has its headquarters in Trondheim and production premises in Vanvikan, located on the Fosenhalvøya. The uncrewed voyages will transport goods and equipment between the two locations, providing a more environmentally friendly and sustainable transport solution. Uncrewed vessels can contribute to cost-effective operations, reduced risk, and lower CO2 emissions than existing manned alternatives.

Eirik Hovstein, COO of Maritime Robotics, expressed his excitement about the approval and explained that this is a significant milestone for the establishment of laws and regulations that enable launched drones to participate in ordinary traffic at sea. «Norway is a pioneering country in the development of autonomous vessels and laws and regulations must be updated to make use of the new opportunities this development offers», explains Hovstein.

The project has received support from ZAWAS, an innovation cluster in collaboration with Innovation Norway and Norwegian industry. The authorities are following up on the several ongoing projects to enable the technology to contribute to new value creation in existing processes. The establishment of the freight route for uncrewed cargo boats marks a crucial step in the development of more sustainable transport solutions.

To showcase the success of the project, the first trip of the Mariner on the approved route was recorded and is available to watch below:

The world's first uncrewed goods transport at sea that has been approved by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate and the Coastal Administration for completely unmanned goods transport with a small commercial cargo ship.