VESSEL REVIEW | German yard builds all-electric autonomous demonstrator boat

Photo: Fassmer

German shipbuilder Fassmer has delivered a new electric aluminium vessel for the Oldenburg Institute of Systems Engineering for Future Mobility of the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsche Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).

Fassmer said the eight-metre-long custom-built boat is highly manoeuvrable and was developed specifically for the unique requirements of the research project. Depending on the project objectives, the boat can be equipped with special sensors. For example, specific modules will allow the boat to be operated entirely from a shore control centre to test berthing manoeuvres.

Photo: Fassmer

Additionally, in line with the goal of developing autonomous shipping technology, the boat will also be used for field trials of new regulations and the simulation of navigational properties of vessels. The vessel will provide the institute with an actual platform to validate the results of related tests that were previously conducted virtually.

Aluminium was selected as the construction material due to its lightweight properties, and all-electric propulsion was incorporated to allow research missions to be conducted cost-effectively and with reduced environmental impact. Two azimuthing pod drives enable the boat to turn on its own length while two 12kWh batteries ensure an endurance of more than two hours at a constant speed of six knots.

The wheelhouse offers space for up to four people as well as workstations, tools, and electronics. This configuration is ideal for one-day trips in the North and Baltic Seas.

8-metre Autonomous Demonstrator Workboat
Type of vessel: Demonstrator vessel
Flag: Germany
Owner: German Aerospace Centre
Operator: Oldenburg Institute of Systems Engineering for Future Mobility, Germany
Builder: Fassmer, Germany
Hull construction material: Aluminium
Superstructure construction material: Aluminium
Deck construction material: Aluminium
Length overall: 8.0 metres
Propulsion: 2 x azimuthing thrusters
Batteries: 2 x 12 kWh
Crew: 4
Operational area: North Sea; Baltic Sea

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