An autonomous and electric big boat

Amador Palacios
2 min readDec 24, 2021


As far as I know, this is the first 80 meter long autonomous and electric boat to be put into operation in Norway. It’s name is Yara.

It is a relatively large ship (80 meters long and over 3,000 tons) to transport travelers and goods between nearby ports in Norway. The average of its crossings will be about 8 nautical miles.

Instead of a traditional motor, and this electric boat is equipped with large batteries that store up to 6.8 MWh. and that they are charged upon arrival at the port based on clean electricity. As the boat tours are short, this limitation of the electric boat is not an operational problem.

But in general, experts consider that the supply of large ecological ships will be based on hydrogen, ammonia, etc … to replace current fossil fuels.

The power supply by electric energy will be a niche for electric boats that make short trips as is the case of the Yara.

Another advantage of this boat is that it is autonomous (it does not need anyone at the helm), and for such a large boat that is an additional difficulty. There is still little experience in this field of robotics, and it must be taken into account that ships require very high reaction times to maneuver.

There are hardly any regulations on this either, and I assume that both the ship operators and the Norwegian naval authorities will learn together from their experiences over time.

In general, accidents that occur on ships are due to human errors, especially when they approach port and must maneuver over short distances.

All the tests carried out to move ships in an ecological way are more than welcome, since the maritime sector contributes 3% of the pollution we generate and has the objective of reducing its emissions by 40% by 2030 and a 50% by 2050.

Those who first position themselves in obtaining ecological alternatives to move boats have a huge business ahead of them, as there are thousands of boats that need to be re-motorized and many new ones that will need to be manufactured.

What seems clear is that fossil fuel engines for ships have their days numbered. And I am clear that the cruises should be one of the first to be modified.



Amador Palacios

I am an electronic engineer with more than 40 years working in industry. I like to reflect on Technological and Social issues