Zeabuz – a newly-created spin-off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) – is looking to prove that autonomous electric ferries can provide urban mobility solutions that are more flexible, cheaper and greener than using fixed infrastructure.
Bjørn K. Haugland, a former senior executive with DNV GL and now the Chairman of Zeabuz, told Bunkerspot today that NTNU researchers started tests with a prototype vessel in Trondheim in spring 2019 and plans are now in place to conduct more tests with a bigger, more sophisticated vessel in June this year with a view to ‘landing the first commercial project in 2020’.
NTNU set up Zeabuz in December to drive forward the development. Working alongside Haugland, NTNU’s Susanne Jäschke is the company’s interim CEO. Other NTNU personnel involved in Zeabuz include Asgeir J. Sørensen, the director of NTNU's research centre on autonomous maritime operations, Tor Arne Johansen and Egil Eide
In a statement issued last month, Zeabuz said: ‘The climate crisis means that there will be great demand for smart, climate-friendly mobility solutions worldwide.’ Zeabuz aims to ‘sell autonomous mobility services’ to coastal cities and settlements in Norway and internationally, using ferries that will be ‘small, electric and on-demand’.
‘Our autonomy solution is world-leading and can enable self-driving ferries that safely manoeuvre among other boats, dock to the quay by themselves and handle passengers safely,’ said Jäschke.
Haugland – who is also the CEO of the Skift Business Climate Leaders group – added: ’Norway has a complete maritime cluster and together with NTNU's world-leading expertise in digitalisation, automation and autonomy, we can create a new industrial adventure.’