ASTAT - Autonomous Ship Transport at Trondheimsfjorden

Short sea transport is struggling in Norway and in Europe. This in spite of a generally energy efficient and low greenhouse-gas emission performance. An ageing fleet and strong competition from trucks makes it difficult to develop new and even better transport concepts. Unmanned ships that are able to operate autonomously may change this situation and the ASTAT project will investigate one particular new type of unmanned ships: A small and fully electric shuttle type vessel. The ASTAT project had its kick-off at May 16th 2017. It will investigate three specific transport cases as shown on the map.
ASTAT Operational area

The three selected cases are:


1.      Transport of containers and break bulk between Jøsnøya terminal for coastal ships and Trondheim or Orkanger (orange). This will link coastal routes to transport systems in the Trondheimsfjord area.

2.      Lumber from Orkanger to Follafoss or Skogn (blue). This will replace older manned ships and trucks for large volumes of cargo.

3.      Gravel from Verrabotn to Trondheim for tarmac production (green). This will also replace trucks and older ships.


Distances are between 80 and 90 kilometres for all cases (43 to 48 nautical miles). This is about 8 hours at 6 knots. The routes are in sheltered waters without excessive waves or currents. The project will run until March 2019 and will design the traffic systems, including ships and infrastructure to a level where a reliable cost-benefit and safety analysis can be performed. The goal is to develop methods for assessment of autonomous ship transport systems and specifically get better data on the cases mentioned above.

For more information, contact Ørnulf Jan Rødseth.

ASTAT is part funded by the Research Council of Norway under contract no. 269557/O80.