The world is increasingly urbanized and most cities are located in coastal areas or along waterways. This requires that new transport solutions must be cost-effective, emission-free and will have to use the waterways.
NTNU is now spinning out a new company, Zeabuz that will build mobility solutions on top of world-leading technology expertise. Former DNV GL top executive Bjørn K. Haugland and three NTNU professors with long industrial and entrepreneurial experience are part of the team.
“Norway has a complete maritime cluster and together with NTNU’s world-leading expertise in digitalization, automation, and autonomy, we can create a new industrial adventure,” says Haugland, CEO of Skift Business Climate Leaders and chairman of the new company.
The climate crisis means that there will be great demand for smart, climate-friendly mobility solutions worldwide. NTNU has been researching ship control and autonomy for many years, and the Norwegian industrial adventure concerning dynamic positioning of ships started at NTNU. Today, this has given rise to a multimillion-dollar industry centered in Norway.
Zeabuz will sell autonomous mobility services to both cities and settlements along the coast, and will ally with strong Norwegian and international partners in designing and building the ferries themselves. The Zeabuz ferries will be small, electric and on-demand. “Autonomy fits like a glove with electric ferries. This enables better control, optimal operation, safety and maintenance, ”says Asgeir J. Sørensen, director of NTNU’s research center on autonomous maritime operations, NTNU AMOS.
“Our autonomy solution is world-leading and can enable self-driving ferries that safely maneuver among other boats, dock to the quay by themselves and handle passengers safely. We work with DNV GL, the Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate to test two prototypes in Trondheim. The unique technology has been developed at NTNU and will be made available to the company,” says Susanne Jäschke, interim CEO of the company.
The new company is established by NTNU through NTNU Technology Transfer AS, a number of NTNU researchers and Bjørn K. Haugland. Among the NTNU researchers are the serial entrepreneurs Asgeir J. Sørensen (Marine Cybernetics, Ecotone, Eelume), Tor Arne Johansen (Marine Cybernetics, Scout Drone Inspection, UBIQ Aerospace) and Egil Eide (3D radar).
The company originates from NTNU AMOS and the departments of Marine Technology, Engineering Cybernetics and Electronic Systems and has received key support from the Norwegian Research Council’s program FORNY as well as NTNU Discovery. NTNU Technology Transfer has been responsible for business development and project management.
Zeabuz is now seeking partners and talent who want to join the team and enable emission-free mobility on waterways.