Norwegian firms Yara, Kongsberg to build self-steering container ship

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara and maritime technology firm Kongsberg Gruppe are teaming up to build what they said would be the world’s first fully electric and self-steering container ship.

“The new zero-emission vessel will be a game-changer for global maritime transport contributing to meet the United Nations sustainability goals,” the companies said on Tuesday.

Automobile makers and technology companies are already working on the development of self-driving cars and trucks, as well as electric vehicles.

The planned autonomous container feeder will cut emissions from road transport when it starts shipping products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to Norway’s Brevik and Larvik ports for global deliveries in 2018, the companies said.

Brevik and Larvik ports are about 14 km and 26 km away from Porsgrunn respectively by road.

The ship is expected to operate initially as a manned vessel, moving to remote-controlled operation in 2019 and to fully autonomous mode from 2020.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Alexander Smith