Tokyo-based e5 Lab Inc. says it has launched the ROBOSHIP project aiming to develop standard models of electrically powered vessels to realize zero emissions, as well as an integrated system called the ROBOSHIP BOX, which brings together telecommunications, the Internet of Things (IoT) and software.
With strategic partners in Japan and overseas, the development project team targets the commercialization of electric-powered merchant vessels that adopt clean and efficient propulsion systems at the most competitive price in the global market, the company said.
The team has developed two types of electric vessels in the ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0, with standard gross tonnage specifications — 499 tons and 749 tons. According to e5, they will be able to achieve the same speed and sailing range as vessels currently in service, while achieving zero-emission operation in port, due to the large-capacity storage batteries in combination with a diesel-powered generator and efficient electric devices (DC grids, PM motors, AI technology).
The ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 can reduce not only the workload of seafarers, but also lower the risk of mechanical problems and decrease maintenance costs, because the motors are powered only by electricity, e5 Lab says. The team’s current target is to keep construction costs less than 5% above the cost of comparable existing vessels. The ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 is slated for delivery within 2022.
e5 Lab, along with the partners, will promote the ROBOSHIP and accelerate maritime digital transformation by offering the ROBOSHIP BOX as well as the EV powertrain, which is a key technology of the ROBOSHIP, to all interested shipyards and shipowners. The ROBOSHIP BOX is the foundation that connects the vessel and shore and enables shore-side support using digital technology.