First Freight Route for Unmanned Vessels Established in Norway

A Maritime Robotics Mariner travels on the new USV freight route in Norway. Photo courtesy of Maritime Robotics.

TRONDHEIM, Norway—The Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate have given the green light for the company to operate unmanned surface vehicles on the route between Trondheim and Vanvikan.

Maritime Robotics’ USV, the Mariner, has already used the newly approved freight route. The company has its headquarters in Trondheim and production premises in Vanvikan, located on the Fosenhalvøya. The voyages will transport goods and equipment between the two locations, providing a more environmentally friendly and sustainable transport solution. USVs can contribute to cost-effective operations, reduced risk assessment, and lower CO2 emissions than existing manned alternatives.

Eirik Hovstein, COO of Maritime Robotics, said this is a significant milestone for the establishment of laws and regulations that enable unmanned systems to participate in ordinary traffic at sea.

“Norway is a pioneering country in the development of autonomous vessels and laws and regulations must be updated to make use of the new opportunities this development offers,” he said.

The project has received support from ZAWAS, an innovation cluster in collaboration with Innovation Norway and Norwegian industry. The authorities are following up on the several ongoing projects to enable the technology to contribute to new value creation in existing processes. The establishment of the freight route for uncrewed cargo boats marks a crucial step in the development of more sustainable transport solutions.

To showcase the project, the first trip of the Mariner on the approved route was recorded and is available to watch: