The World’s First Crewless (Autonomous) Cargo Ship To Launch Next Year

Updated on 6 Sep, 2018 at 6:42 pm


As per a recent report published in The Wall Street Journal, the world’s first crewless cargo ship will be launched next year. The Norwegian-built ship is likely to be completely autonomous by 2020. The Yara Birkeland would make use of GPS, cameras, sensors, and radar in order to navigate and dock on its own. Among other features, the ship will be emission free.

The news has been announced by Yara, the company behind the entire curation of the boat. Yara announced it was working on the ship back in May.

The Norwegian-built ship is likely to be completely autonomous by 2020


Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara, revealed in a statement,


Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world. With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions.

The cost of building the ship is expected to be over 160 crore, which is thrice the price of a comparably-sized container ship. Since there is no requirement of crew or fuel, the operation costs will be up to 90 percent lower. The Yara Birkeland will start out as a manned vessel, and will then be remotely operated in 2019, before becoming completely autonomous in 2020.

The ship has been denoted as the “Tesla of the Seas”. It is being developed in a mutual venture between Yara and tech company, Kongsberg Gruppen.