May 28, 2024 | Marine electronics & digitalisation news

Ferry operator Fjord1 has contracted Norwegian Electric Systems (NES) to develop systems for automation of vessel functions and autonomous navigation for the four zero-emission ferries that will operate the Lavik-Oppedal crossing on the northwest coast of Norway.

The 5.6km 20 minute Lavik–Oppedal route crosses the Sognefjord, on the northwest coast of Norway.

NES MD Siv Remøy-Vangen said: “This is a contract that we have been working towards for more than a year in close collaboration with Fjord1, regulatory bodies and class society. A milestone where we have invested in our people and in our product. This contract is not only important milestone for Fjord1 and Norwegian Electric Systems, but for the global maritime industry. It involves technology that will support seafarers and ensure that ferries operate efficiently and safely. Autonomous vessels represent a vital part of what the future for maritime transport will develop into, and we are through this contract taking part in shaping it.”

In close collaboration with Fjord1, NES will develop and deliver the systems for automation of vessel functions and autonomous navigation, including autocrossing and autodocking, that will replace some manual operations on board.

Fjord1 CTO Nils Kristian Berge said: “NES has been an important partner to Fjord1 in the development of the automation and autonomy concept that led to NPRA awarding the contract for the Lavik – Oppedal tender to Fjord1.   We are therefore very pleased to have concluded the contract with NES for the very important development work that will take the ferry operation to the next level.”

NES’ autonomous system will be at the forefront of technological innovation, with advanced functions such as automatic steering of the vessel at all speeds and directions, automatic fjord crossing and automatic docking to the quay without the need for human intervention.

The four newbuild zero emission ferries will operate the route from 1 September 2026 onwards. Complete implementation of automation functions and autonomous systems, including autocrossing and autodocking, will happen from Janaury 2027, while autonomous navigation will be implemented in 2028.

Remøy-Vangen added: “By integrating these functionalities with advanced camera technology, sensors and algorithms for collision avoidance, we will ensure unparalleled safety and efficiency in all operations.”

NES, a subsidiary of HAV Group, will manage the project out of its Bergen headquarters. This is the third contract HAV Group subsidiaries have been awarded for the Lavik-Oppedal ferries. HAV Design has been contracted to deliver ship design and an engineering package, while NES has previously been awarded a contract to act as system integrator, for various equipment deliveries, and prepare the vessels for future integration of autonomous vessel technologies.

Gunnar Larsen, CEO HAV Group said: “We have over the years invested in our people and a significant amount in R&D to develop technologies that set the standard for the maritime industry. HAV Group possesses a broad portfolio of maritime technologies that have been designed to deliver safer and more cost-efficient vessel operations. This third contract for Lavik-Oppedal is another fantastic confirmation that we are a good fit for shipowners’ future demands.”

Image: Fjord1 autonomous zero-emission ferry (source: NES/HAV Group)

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