"Adaptive" Ferry Enters Regular Service


Published Feb 16, 2020 7:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The world’s first adaptive ferry transit has been conducted in Norway, with the vessel fully loaded with passengers and vehicles. The transit demonstrated fully automatic control from dock to dock of the ferry Bastø Fosen VI using functionality developed by Kongsberg Maritime.

The project is a collaboration between shipping company Bastø Fosen, Kongsberg and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA). Øyvind Lund, CEO, Bastø Fosen, commented: “Today, at the press of a button, one of our vessels left the quay in Horten, crossed the Oslo fjord and docked in Moss, all completely automatically. This leaves the crew more time to focus on monitoring the vessel and ensuring passenger safety, which for us are the main motivations for adopting this technology.”

Bastø Fosen VI now enters a six-month trial period during which the automatic system – called “adaptive transit” – is expected to control the vessel for most services, but the captain will remain in charge and the bridge will be fully staffed. At present, the installed equipment is not fully autonomous – if vessels or objects are detected on a collision course an alarm will sound and the captain will take control.

An anti-collision system, comprising radar and electro-optical sensors, is expected to be fitted to Bastø Fosen VI this summer and be under test by autumn, but crew will remain on the bridge even as the level of autonomy increases. To maintain maneuvering skills, Bastø Fosen’s procedures will require their staff to perform manual transits on a regular basis.

The system on Bastø Fosen VI automatically performs all docking and crossing functions to a high and repeatable level of accuracy, ensuring that best practice is followed to the smallest detail on every transit, says Kongsberg. The result is more exact timekeeping; during trials in December, Bastø Fosen VI consistently arrived within two seconds of the scheduled time.

Kongsberg says the technology introduces new potential for the sustainability of diverse marine operations by providing a platform for optimized fuel consumption and reduced GHG emissions.

Speaking from onboard Bastø Fosen VI, Gunnar Pedersen, EVP Integrated Solutions, Kongsberg Maritime, said: “Leaving the quay, crossing and docking again, all at the press of a button – this is a world first. It’s super-smooth too, as we saw today... This is the future.”