Torqeedo participates in autonomous navigation research

Torqeedo Smart & Green Ship

Electric propulsion specialist Torqeedo is participating in a Smart & Green Ship joint research project at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) and the Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems (DST) in Germany.

The project aims to advance fully autonomous navigation in inland waterways by researching various combinations of automation and emission-free drive systems.

“We at Torqeedo are pleased to be involved in the development of the Smart & Green Ship and thus support the UDE and the DST in developing a future-oriented solution for the shortage of skilled workers, and promoting the use of environmentally friendly propulsion solutions in inland navigation,” says Fabian Bez, CEO of Torqeedo.

Fully automated river shipping paves the way for a more environmentally friendly future for inland vessels. Many experts believe that autonomous vessels will be the first vehicles on the planet to achieve Level-5, or full autonomy, as autonomous vessels face different challenges from self-driving cars. Boats and ships on inland waterways tend to travel at relatively slow speeds, with less vehicular and human traffic to contend with. In addition, many inland vessels travel a fairly fixed route, making navigation easier than on land.

This project focuses on the development of a test platform: an inland vessel with a catamaran hull that will be able to transport people as well as goods in the future. The two floats of the test platform, which carry the hull above the water, are equipped with solar panels to keep the vehicle operational without any other source of energy while it is docked in the harbour. The test vessel’s electric drive system consists of twin 50 kW Deep Blue motors powered by four Deep Blue Battery 80s installed in the stern of the ship.

The construction of a 15 metre long test platform is being undertaken by the Feller Yachting shipyard in North Rhine-Westphalia.

“The modular design of the propulsion system and the hull makes it easy to retrofit additional green energy sources in the future, such as a fuel cell or generator powered by sustainable liquid fuels,” says Uwe Feller from Feller Yachting. “The ship will also be equipped with all the necessary technical components to enable completely autonomous cruising – including lock passages as well as mooring and casting off manoeuvres.”

The ‘Smart & Green Ship’ is expected to be handed over to the project partners by Feller Yachting in September 2024, when it will then enter a one-year test phase in the Dortmund-Ems Canal.

Images courtesy of Torqeedo.

Comments are closed.