Last May we heard about the Yara Birkeland, which is planned to be the world's first all-electric and autonomous container ship. When it enters full autonomous control in 2020, it will likely be under the auspices of the just-announced world's first autonomous shipping company, Massterly.

The Yara Birkeland is being developed in a partnership between Norwegian chemical company Yara, and Norwegian maritime technology company Kongsberg. Massterly is in turn the result of a collaboration between Kongsberg and Norway's Wilhelmsen ship management company.

Plans call for Massterly to design and build autonomous ships, along with creating their control systems and logistics services. Land-based control centers will be used to monitor (and sometimes remotely operate) the vessels, both in Norwegian waters and internationally.

"Currently, we are at the very beginning of this development, but we see and believe that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the near future," says Wilhelmsen CEO, Thomas Wilhelmsen. "At first, short sea shipping will use autonomous ships. This also implies increased competitiveness to move transport from road to sea. The gains are increased efficiency and reduction of emissions."

Massterly will be based in Lysaker, Norway, and should be fully operational by August. The following video provides some more information.

Source: Kongsberg via Inhabitat