An official autonomous shipping test-bed was opened in Horten, on the coast of Norway, on 6 December. The new area is open to both Norwegian and international organisations, in order to support the growth in development of new solutions for autonomous maritime operations.
The area is specially designated for autonomous trials by the Norwegian Maritime Administration and the Norwegian Coastal Administration. Building on Norway’s leading position within the burgeoning autonomous shipping segment, the test-bed is the third of its kind in the country and only the fourth such approved area in the world.
Kongsberg has worked closely with the town of Horten, DNV GL, FFI (Norwegian Defence Research Establishment) and the University College of South East Norway, to establish the new test-bed, which is situated adjacent to Kongsberg Maritime’s Horten facility.
This introduction follows the opening of the world’s first autonomous shipping test-bed in September 2016, which was also supported by Kongsberg and located on the Trondheimsfjord in Norway.
The test-beds in Trondheim and Horten are an important resource for on-going development of technology for ground-breaking projects such as the YARA Birkeland all electric, autonomous container ship, the Hrönn, autonomous offshore support vessel and marine robotics technology.
“The move towards greater autonomy at sea has the potential to transform maritime operations and while the technology has now been proven, we look towards the regulations. Establishment of these test-beds are an important step, as it shows close co-operation between the people making the technology and vessels and the organisations developing the rules that will allow them to operate,” said Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime.