NTNU spins off Zeabuz zero-emission waterbus concept

Source: press release, 18 December 2019

Zeabuz’ all-electric waterbuses will provide autonomous mobility services to cities and towns that need new transport and infrastructure solutions, varying in passenger capacity from 10-30 passengers in the initial phase coast
Zeabuz’ all-electric waterbuses will provide autonomous mobility services to cities and towns that need new transport and infrastructure solutions, varying in passenger capacity from 10-30 passengers in the initial phase coast (illustration: Zeabuz)

NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) has established a new firm, Zeabuz, to promote and build upon its newly developed autonomous waterbus concept for emission-free waterways transportation.

The world is becoming increasingly urbanised, and most cities are located in coastal areas or along waterways. This development 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 specialise in building mobility solutions.

“Our autonomy solution is world-leading and can enable self-driving ferries that safely manoeuvre among other boats, dock to the quay by themselves and handle passengers safely,” says Susanne Jäschke, Zeabuz Interim CEO. “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.”

“Norway has a complete maritime cluster and together with NTNU’s world-leading expertise in digitalisation, automation and autonomy, we can create a new industrial adventure in terms of new emission free mobility solutions that will also help address the climate crisis,” says Bjørn K. Haugland, CEO of Skift Business Climate Leaders and chairman of the new company.

Expert NTNU researchers and serial entrepreneurs behind Zeabuz include Asgeir J. Sørensen of Marine Cybernetics, Ecotone and Eelume; Tor Arne Johansen of Marine Cybernetics, Scout Drone Inspection, and UBIQ Aerospace, and Egil Eide of 3D radar. The company is now seeking to grow its ranks and attract further talent from Norway and beyond.

“Zeabuz will sell autonomous mobility services to both cities and towns along the coast, and ally with strong Norwegian and international partners in designing and building the ferries,” adds Haugland.

“Autonomy fits like a glove with electric ferries,” says Asgeir J. Sørensen, director of NTNU’s research centre on autonomous maritime operations, NTNU AMOS. “This enables better control, optimal operation, safety and maintenance.”