Image Credit: Torghatten
A Norwegian start-up championing scalable and efficient autonomous inland waterway transport has won the prestigious Special Category of the EU Start-up Prize for Mobility.
Zeabuz is tapping into the largely unexplored market for inland waterway transport to reduce traffic congestion, emissions and noise pollution.
Maria Tsavachidis, CEO of EIT Urban Mobility, told Zag Daily: “By focusing on emission-free, electric, self-driving passenger ferries, Zeabuz has expanded the scope of sustainable urban mobility. They are establishing new connections across waterways that were previously largely unexplored. This is why EIT Urban Mobility is proud to award them this prize.”
The start-up developed the world’s first electric, self-driving commercial ferry ‘Zeam’ (Zero Emission Autonomous Mobility). The passenger ferry has already been in operation since June, making trips from Kungsholmen to Södermalm.
Zeabuz CEO and Co-Founder Erik Dyrkoren told Zag: “Zeabuz is bringing an entirely new mode of waterborne mobility to the market. These are networks of small electric autonomous vessels that create shortcuts across urban waterways, almost like a horizontal elevator, or virtual bridge. Autonomy allows for lean crew and cost optimised operations, that can be scaled to many of the world’s cities – most of which are connected to water.”
As the boat crosses the water, there is a safety operator on board at all times overseeing the system.
While Zeabuz was initially a spin-off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), today the startup’s electric and solar-powered ferries have caught the attention of national and international investors.
Tsavachidis added: “Sustainable urban mobility poses many challenges across Europe, including in active mobility, city logistics, urban space allocation, and clean energy initiatives – issues that are all tackled by Zeabus. As a European Innovation Community we believe it is essential to foster emerging technologies and expand into new territories. Zeabuz stands as a testament to what a European innovation ecosystem can achieve, from progressive research on autonomous marine operations to a proven, scalable business model.”