Driverless ferries are being tested in Trondheim in Norway that can ‘see’ kayakers and boats, and could eventually be a substitute for footbridges. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has built and tested a prototype of the electric ferry and they now plan to refine its anti-collision properties and teach it situational awareness.
NTNU has been working with autonomous vessel management systems for years, but training a computer to predict movements and to read complex traffic scenarios at this level of detail is a new development. “This is a high-technology twist to creating connections across the water. We believe emission-free ferries can help improve urban residents’ quality of life,” said NTNU associate professor Egil Eide. “Driverless ferries can help develop regions that previously haven’t been linked to cities and towns due to a lack of infrastructure, for example.”
The plan has the first autonomous electric ferry crossing the Trondheim channel between Ravnkloa and Vestre Kanalhavn. The distance is just under 100 metres, and the crossing takes a mere one minute but will save pedestrians a 10-15 minute walk.