Norwegian grocery distributor ASKO Maritime has completed a naming ceremony for two autonomous ‘sea drones’ set to enter service transporting food between ASKO’s warehouses on either side of the Oslo Fjord.
The two 67m vessels, named Marit and Therese after cross-country ski champions Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug, will now commence a two-year trial period to earn full certification for uncrewed operations.
Once that certification period has been completed the ships are expected to operate under the remote control of an onshore centre run by Massterly, the autonomous shipping joint venture launched by Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg in 2018.
In the interim the vessels will operate with a limited crew of up to four people on board, including captains, though typically the ships will run with a crew of just two.
Built in Cochin Shipyard in India, each of the battery-powered ships can carry 16 trailers, which will be transported on electric trucks. The vessels both have batteries supplying 1846 kWh of power divided among two battery compartments, with a 500 kW electric motor for propulsion a 200 kW motor for manoeuvring.