In a world-first move Fjord1’s new all-electric ferries will be automatically driven under captain supervision ‒ and Rolls-Royce is enabling this to happen by supplying an automated control system.
Rolls-Royce vice president of marine innovation, engineering and technology Oskar Levander told delegates at the Interferry annual conference that this kind of solution will “really change shipping as we know it”.
He explained why the solution fits Fjord1’s all-electric ferries that will ply the E39 Anda-Lote route on the west coast of Norway: “You do not want to waste too much time and energy with batteries, this is very important because the batteries need to be operated in the most efficient way.”
He said the captains would be on the ferries supervising the system, intervening if necessary, and will only take over in the last few minutes by docking the ships. Mr Levander said the next stage was to move to automatic docking.
He said the automated control system had garnered a lot of interest from different geographic areas, and from both big and small ferry operators. Mr Leander said: “We have seen a lot of interest from big passenger ferries as they are going for the safety, that is a big driver. There is a significant improvement in safety as you do not have the human error factor. Most marine accidents are caused by human errors; the crew is fatigued. But an automated system is alert all the time, which is a big benefit.”
He emphasised to the audience at the Interferry conference, held in Manila this year that ship intelligence will “really redefine shipping as we know it, don’t be left on the dock; get involved now. This will change the way that we operate ships in the future”.
Fjord1’s new ferries will both have a cargo capacity of 120 cars, 12 trailers and 349 passengers. Operation on the 2.4km route will start in January 2018.