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Our First Look at Commercial Automation... 

Posted by Fran Geddes on 30-Jan-2018 13:05:08
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Last week, we got our first glimpse of one of the autonomous vehicles set to be introduced later this year. Dubbed ‘the Tesla of the Canals’, Port Liner’s barges can carry 24 containers weighing up to 425 tonnes from ports in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Rotterdam.

The barges will be powered by 20-foot batteries, all supplied and charged by the carbon-free energy supplier, Eneco, sourcing their power from solar, wind and renewable sources - not only this, but the barges will be completely autonomous.

Port Liner's Electric, Emission-Free, Automated Barge


To begin with, Port Liner will introduce 5 barges, expected to take around 23,000 mainly diesel-powered lorries off the road, with big plans to further reduce carbon emissions with the introduction of 6 additional bargers expected at a later date.

Pending the success of the initial barges, Port Liner is planning to introduce 6 110-metre barges, carrying up to 280 containers. These containers are estimated to save up to 18,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, giving us a brief look into how the transport industry will evolve over the next few years.

Although, we are yet to see autonomous cars on our roads, or rivers, experiments to successfully create an autonomous vehicle have been taking place since the 1920’s and have inspired the lifestyle of science-fiction novels ever since.

Automated Traffic


One thing is for sure, Port Liner’s new barges represent the vehicles of the future, electric and autonomous. Autonomous vehicles are something car manufacturing and technology companies alike have been racing to achieve. With green policy and the reduction of carbon emissions being a high priority on many government agendas, tackling emissions caused by transport could drastically reduce our carbon footprint.

Owning a car can be very expensive nowadays, therefore, technology companies, like Uber and Alphabet, are looking to offer a solution by implementing autonomous vehicles within their ride-hailing services. But, they’re not the only ones. Apple, Google and Elon Musk-owned, Tesla, are all rapidly developing their own autonomous solutions.


Efficient Fuel Consumption

As the autonomous vehicles will be powered by an artificially intelligent system, fuel efficiency will be a priority for the system controlling your vehicle.  


Safer streets

Since human error will be removed from the equation, it is very likely road traffic accidents will dramatically be reduced. Software systems can’t get drunk or text and drive.


Reduction in travel time

Endless amounts of time and fuel are wasted each year due to traffic. Driverless cars will be able to monitor masses of traffic and road data to determine the quickest and most efficient route available.


Gathering insights to support smart cities

The move towards autonomous travel will all contribute valuable insights and data to support smart city initiatives. Smart cities will be built upon data collected by smart infrastructure, like autonomous cars and smart buildings. This data will be analysed by AI-systems integrated within our cities to streamline efficiencies, reduce carbon emissions and overall improve citizen’s quality of life.



Port Liner’s first autonomous barge truly represents the transport of the future. Rapid developments are taking place within artificial intelligence meaning automation is closer than ever. Whilst autonomous cars are at the forefront of automation, automated initiatives are not just limited to vehicles. AI and automation will disrupt many industries, including customer service, retail, banking,and the quicker automation is introduced, the quicker we will see these major changes.


To begin your artificial intelligence project or find out more about how your business could benefit from AI or automation, speak to one of our technology experts today.


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Topics: artificial intelligence, automation