Zeam – which stands for Zero Emission Autonomous Mobility – will soon launch the world’s first self-driving, all-electric commercial passenger ferry. It will be operating between the Stockholm islands of Kungsholmen and Södermalm in Sweden. The service will be run by Zeabuz, a spin-off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s research center for autonomous marine operations and systems (NTNU), which is co-owned by Torghatten AS Stockholm, a Norwegian shipping company. The ferry will start operating in Stockholm in June 2023.
Torghatten and Zeabuz state that the ferry will come and go every 15 minutes for 15 hours per day. Solar panels on the roof will keep it charged during the day, with its batteries being recharged overnight from the city’s power system. The ferry can carry 24 passengers, and will initially have a security operator on board at all times to monitor the system and be ready to take over the manual driving if required. Radar, lidar, cameras, ultrasonic sensors, AI, and GPS are installed in the ferry to help the vessel navigate through the water by scanning the environment, making smart decisions on its movement, and ensuring a safe docking sequence.
“Many large cities around the world have problems with congestion, lack of capacity and environmental and air pollution. Self-driving technology will be part of the solution and will be good for both the climate and people.“Instead of being barriers, the water surfaces will sew the city together and become a shortcut for all Stockholmers,” Reidun Svarva, Chief Business Development Officer at Torghatten said.