The self-driving Zeabuz Zeam electric ferry begins operation this summer
As an acronym for “Zero Emission Autonomous Mobility”, the Zeabuz Zeam electric ferry is the world’s first commercial self-driving passenger ferry, and it’s almost ready for launch. Technology provider Zeabuz developed its zero-emissions multihull, which will be constructed by Brdrene Aa and run by the Norwegian maritime firm Torghatten.
Starting this summer, the Zeabuz Zeam electric ferry will transport passengers between the Stockholm islands of Kungsholmen and Södermalm. According to the designers, the 39-foot ferry can accommodate up to 24 passengers and will run every 15 minutes for up to 15 hours every day, decreasing traffic congestion in the coastal metropolis and carbon emissions.
“Many large cities around the world have problems with congestion, lack of capacity, and environmental and air pollution,” stated Reidun Svarva, chief business development officer at Torghatten. “Self-driving technology will be part of the solution and will be good for both the climate and people.”
The Zeam is equipped with a 188 kWh Zem battery bank, solar panels on the roof, and an electric motor. The AI-based transportation will employ radar, LiDAR, and cameras to track things on the water while also using infrared. Additionally, it will use GPS for locating and ultrasonic sensors for automatic docking movements. Torghatten promises that the self-sailing technology has been well tested and is safe.
The design team chose to keep a security operator on board at all times to monitor the system and be prepared to take over manual driving even if the vehicle is autonomous. The boat’s solar panels soak up energy during the day, providing enough to refuel and enable independent operation. Operators plug the electric ferry with a power cable at night so it will be ready for use the next day.
For the 2024 Olympics, Paris is apparently considering employing the Zeabuz Zeam electric ferry on the Seine. The boat is expected to make its premiere in Stockholm this June.