Norway opens test area for autonomous ships

Norwegian Maritime Authority and the Norwegian Coastal Administration have signed an agreement which allows for testing of autonomous ships in the Trondheim fjord.

Director General Olav Akselsen (right) signs the cooperation agreement on test areas for autonomous ships together with Director Arve Dimmen of the Norwegian Coastal Administration.
Photo: Kari Stautland/Sjøfartsdirektoratet

–We do not yet know how widespread autonomy will be in future shipping, but for the Norwegian Maritime Authority, it is imperative to be a central participant in this development, says Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Mr Olav Akselsen in a press release.

Much is going on in the area of autonomous shipping right now and in Sweden, work is underway on the increased security that could be achieved through autonomous shipping. At Ligthouse we are following up our pre-study on autonomous shipping with a conference in December with the title Autonomous vessels – a higher degree of autonomy for increased safety.

The Trondheim fjord will, according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, be the first designated test area in the world for autonomous (unmanned) ships. Already next week, the Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships (NFAS) will be established – a forum which is brought about at the initiative of the Norwegian Maritime Authority, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, Norwegian Industry and MARINTEK.

- Both today’s happening and next week’s establishment of the NFAS demonstrate that Norway has already taken the lead in maritime autonomy. This gives us a head start that in the long run may come to mean a lot for both Norway as a nation as well as for the Norwegian maritime industry, the Director General points out.