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TRANSPORT-Transport 2025

Realisering av en Autonom og Prediktiv Passasjerferge

Alternative title: Realization of an Autonomous and Predictive Passenger ferry

Awarded: NOK 6.0 mill.

The project RAPP (named after the preserved Sundbåt Rapp, built in 1958) will develop the necessary technology and infrastructure to achieve autonomous commercial operation of an inland passenger ferry in Kristiansund harbor by 2023. Since its inception in 2019, the project has focused a lot on defining the right concept for autonomy based on an initial traffic analysis that was done. The assessment that a step-by-step approach to an increased level of autonomy is in clear accordance with the other pilot projects in maritime autonomy that we see nationally. Furthermore, we see that the choice of vehicle concept and associated autonomy is not a purely technological choice, but that it is also closely related to the maturity of legislation and political guidelines from users and Kristiansund Municipality. The status is that we are looking at 2 different but possible collaborative vehicle concepts. A «more automated» manned Sundbåt and a possible later shuttle ferry with a higher degree of autonomy and possibly reduced manning that may be possible to operate from the first manned Sundbåt. Furthermore, activity around quay systems and land control centers has been greatly reduced, as the municipality wants to reuse existing quays and we do not envisage that the vehicle will be monitored from land. The project now continues along these hypotheses. The work on the «more automated» Sundbåt has contributed to the development of a new vessel design and a technical specification, and we have prepared a decision basis for the procurement process in Kristiansund Municipality. In February 2021, the new design was published in Teknisk Ukeblad. The design preserves the 145-year-old legacy of the company, and at the same time, it is future-oriented with both battery technology, electrical propulsion and autonomy. Work has also been done on a complete design concept for the shuttle ferry in collaboration with Smartere Transport Møre og Romsdal. The two vehicle concepts have given us concrete realizable steps towards autonomy, and the results so far are applicable to several realizable degrees of autonomy (automatic, periodically unmanned, and unmanned). This applies to both the technological development work for autonomy and the risk assessment work related to the Norwegian Maritime Authority's processes for assessment and possible certification of vessel concepts that use automated functionality with the intention of being able to perform unmanned or partially unmanned operations. The risk assessments made in the project for the new Sundbåt have been based on functions required by the Norwegian Manning Regulations and the Watchkeeping Regulations. The main conclusion is that there are no indications that the functions in the regulations cannot be handled by implementing a high degree of autonomy, i.e. periodically unmanned or unmanned functions, when the autonomy concept includes safety personnel on board. The results indicate that a high degree of autonomy will require a correspondingly high degree of situational awareness, system diagnostics, and alerting of safety personnel in situations that cannot be handled by the autonomy system. As mentioned above, the realization of a new Sundbåt is dependent on political guidelines from users and Kristiansund Municipality. The idea for a new Sundbåt comes from the transport company's desire to be more environmentally friendly, have more frequent departures and reduce the travel time. This idea is supported by an early study in the project, which predicts a significant increase in the number of passengers. Moreover, an important factor in assessing the need for a new Sundbåt is the passenger traffic. A temporary introduction of free Sundbåt has resulted in large growth in the number of passengers, and we therefore consider zero fare as a possible and desired operating/financing model for Sundbåten. For permanent free public transport to be realizable in the Norwegian municipalities, both Kristiansund and Fredrikstad that have implemented zero fare signal the need for county or state financial support. The project has identified that the increased use of city ferries supports several objectives of the Norwegian National Transport Plan, which motivates a «national financial plan» for city ferries. Furthermore, we continue our work with the assumption that Sundbåten and city ferries in general improve micro-mobility, especially if the journey is made seamless when interacting with other mobility solutions.

Prosjektet skal utvikle og realisere en passasjerferge tilrettelagt for autonom drift gjennom utvikling og bygging av ny Sundbåt i Kristiansund. Selve byggingen omfattes ikke av denne søknaden, men planen innebærer at Sundbåten skal være klar for idriftsettelse i 2022, og det omsøkte prosjektet vil omfatte test og oppfølging i oppstartsfasen. Resultatet vil gi grunnlag for reduserte utslipp samt fornying og etablering av nye samband basert på selvkjørende passasjerferger. Markedspotensialet for selvkjørende fergekonsepter tilpasset passasjertransport er meget stort, herunder et omfattende marked nasjonalt. Resultatene fra FoU-innsatsen som investeres i prosjektet vil gi vesentlige bidrag til kompetansen som kreves for overgang til selvkjørende fartøy med passasjerer. Prosjektet gjennomføres av et konsortium bestående av norske bedrifter med relevant kompetanse, i kompaniskap med norske FoU-miljø som innehar den nødvendige kompetanse til å løse de mange krevende problemstillingene prosjektet står overfor. En vellykket satsing også gi interessante kommersielle muligheter for deltakerne. Bare i Nord-Europa finnes et stort antall lignende fergestrekninger (ca 3000) som kan være et stort marked for lignende løsninger. I tillegg vil kompetansen og løsningene som utvikles kunne benyttes mot andre markedssegmenter. Regelverk og godkjenningsprosedyrer for denne type konsepter må utvikles underveis og i samspill med sjøfartsmyndighetene og godkjenningsinstitusjoner. Her vil det samarbeides med andre aktører som arbeider med samme problemstillinger.

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TRANSPORT-Transport 2025