Named the ReVolt, this vessel is 60 metres long and is fully battery powered and autonomous – it requires no crew.
This is a new shipping concept for the short-sea segment that offers a possible solution to the growing need for transport capacity.
The EU road network is already suffering from congestion and the population growth in urban areas will lead to a demand for transportation that exceeds the capacity of existing roads. To alleviate these issues, governments all over the EU are trying to move some of the freight volume from roads to waterways. However, profit margins in the short-sea shipping segment are small.
Annual savings > USD 1M
The innovative ship concept, the ReVolt, is the result of a multi-disciplinary, team-based development project at DNV GL supported by Transnova, Norway and is based on an assessment of current requirements along short-sea routes. The vessel will operate at a speed of 6 knots with a range of 100 nautical miles and a cargo capacity of 100 twentyfoot containers.
With no crew, there is no need for crew facilities such as the vessel's superstructure. The resulting increase in loading capacity and low operating and maintenance costs mean that, compared to a diesel-run ship, the ReVolt could save up to USD 34 million during its estimated 30-year lifetime – saving more than a million USD annually.
A vision – within our grasp
The ReVolt is a vision for the future and will not be built until several of the technologies involved have matured. However, it could conceivably be built and operated using current technology. It is intended to serve as an inspiration for equipment manufacturers, shipyards and shipowners as they endeavour to develop new solutions for a safer and more sustainable future.
The ReVolt was initiated as a research project in August 2013 and launched externally a year later.
It will continue - and be extended to involve land-based charging facilities and capacities - as a research project within DNV GL. For the purpose of testing the autonomous capabilities of ReVolt, a 1:20 scaled model has been built. Through collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), this model will serve as test bench in researching sensor fusion and collision avoidance for autonomous surface vehicles. This competence project will run for three years from Q3 2015.