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Holland Shipyards Wins Contract for Four Autonomous Electric Ferries

Holland shipyards
Courtesy Holland Shipyards

Published Oct 7, 2022 11:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

Trafikverket Sweden has signed a contract with Holland Shipyards Group for up to four autonomous, all-electric ferries. The ferries are designed for IMO Autonomy Level 2 and will be operated from a remote control center in Stockholm. 

A Level 2 autonomous ship is controlled and operated from another location, but crewmembers are still on board to take control and to operate the vessel if needed.

With autonomy, the ferry will navigate its route with just the push of a button, according to Holland Shipyards. While moored, the 60-car ferries will be charged by a shore charging facility, which will take about four minutes.

The contract includes the entire procurement, including the delivery of two ferries, four automatic mooring facilities, two charging stations, a simulator facility and the remote control center.

The operator intends to improve passenger safety using autonomous technology. The objective is for the fully operational system to deal with navigational issues in an "entirely consistent manner, reducing the risk for 'unexpected' actions." 

The vessel will have a high degree of redundancy in order to reduce the dependence on crew on board. Many of the systems are remotely operable from the shoreside control center and are designed with backups in case of failures. 

The first ferry is scheduled to be delivered in the second half of 2024. 

“We are extremely proud to be a part of this pioneering step in shipbuilding," said Marco Hoogendoorn, director of Holland Shipyards Group.

Electric vessels - ferries, workboats, even a fully-electric dredger - make up a substantial share of Holland Shipyards Group's portfolio. It has also built electric ferries in series production for German operator SFK and for the North Sea Canal (NZK), among other projects.