Norwegian companies Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg are cooperating and have created an autonomous shipping joint venture, called “Massterly”. The new company will offer services for autonomous ships, including design and development, control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.
Land-based control centres will monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and around the world.
Currently, we are at the very beginning of this development, but we see and believe that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the near future. At first, short sea shipping will use autonomous ships. This also implies increased competitiveness to move transport from road to sea. The gains are increased efficiency and reduction of emissions. For Norway as a maritime nation, this will be an important contribution to reach the UN sustainable development goals.
A previous key milestone in Norway’s automation was the announcement of “Yara Birkeland” in May 2017. “Yara Birkeland”will be the world’s first fully-electric container vessel and will be completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara’s Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik.
Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg, added:
Autonomy and remote operations are an important development for the maritime industry and Norway’s lead has been made possible as a result of close cooperation between the Norwegian maritime cluster and the Norwegian authorities. In recent years there has been rapid development driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others. When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalising the infrastructure and operations.