The Norwegian Research Council has allocated NOK 100 million (approx. US$10.3 million) in funding to SFI Autoship to act as a global hub for research and innovation on autonomous vessel technologies and systems, and to develop new innovative products for the Norwegian maritime industry.
The autonomous vessel research facility is one of 22 research centres across a variety of industries selected to receive funding from a NOK 2 billion pot being made available by the Norwegian Research Council to drive business innovation across the country.
SFI Autoship, led by the NTNU Department of Engineering Cybernetics in cooperation with SINTEF as a key research participant, is starting operations this Autumn and has gathered 20 partners from the Norwegian maritime sector to support its work, including end users, product and service providers, research institutions, universities and authorities.
The organisation will receive NOK 100 million from the Norwegian Research Council fund over eight years, which will be matched by another NOK 100 million from its partners over the period.
Research projects will focus on autonomous vessel enabling technologies, such as situational awareness, artificial intelligence, remote operation, simulation and testing, as well as the development of new business models and operational concepts to integrate autonomous vessels within the wider industry.
Activities at the centre will be a combination of long-term research challenges, as well as short-term applied end-user issues such as project partner NCL’s wish to use autonomous ships to transport goods along the Norwegian coastline, or Trondheim Municipality’s aim to explore the use of small autonomous passenger ferries as an alternative to bridges.
The SFI Autoship partners are: NTNU, SINTEF Ocean, SINTEF Digital, UiO, IFE, Sjøfartsdirektoratet, Kystverket, Trondheim havn, Trondheim kommune, Kongsberg, DNV GL, Telia, Massterly, Embron, Maritime Robotics, Idletechs, Equinor, G2 Ocean, Grieg Star, NCL, Gard, Torghatten, and MacGregor.