The Northern Netherlands harbours about half of all Dutch rivers, canals and other waterways and can thus – for this reason alone – be considered to be quite suitable for testing autonomous transportation on water. Water sports and freight transportation are important for the northern economy. With the Eemshaven, the Province of Groningen also possesses a harbour, for which autonomous shipping can be a very interesting option.
Autonomous shipping can be implemented as a kind of urban taxi service (for instance in cities like Groningen and Leeuwarden) or as a ferry service in cycling and hiking areas. The advantage here is that it indeed is a fast, clean and flexible means of transportation both in urban as well as natural areas.
In addition, autonomous shipping can also be an interesting option for pilotage services for large ships for instance at the Eemshaven. Due to its narrow fairways, large ships typically have to be piloted by tug and pusher craft. Autonomous ships are quite suited for this task as they are capable of piloting ships safely and properly via the shortest and thus less energy-intensive route available into harbours.
To sum it up: our Northern water-infrastructure – with its broad canals, big lakes and numerous (sea) ports – will surely prove to be the perfect spacious aquatic region for autonomous transportation on water.
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