Norway pioneered electric ferries. Now startup Zeabuz is making them self-driving

With medieval origins and a quaint, colorful port, the low-rise Norwegian city of Trondheim doesn’t look very futuristic. But the former Viking capital is making waves with a pioneering transport initiative: a zero-emissions, self-driving electric ferry.

a small boat in a body of water with a city in the background

© Courtesy Zeabuz

The small, autonomous ferry, which launches next year, works “like an elevator” says Erik Dyrkoren, CEO of Zeabuz, the company building and operating the boat.

Passengers on each side of the canal that separates the port and city center can press a button to call the boat to their side. The boat charges while it waits at the dock, fits up to 12 passengers as well as bicycles, and takes less than 60 seconds to make the crossing — saving pedestrians a 15-minute walk.

The ferry was developed in 2018 by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) as an alternative to a proposed bridge across Trondheim’s harbor

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