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CAPTN Vaiaro, an autonomous electric ferry for ecological public water transport

What is the future of public transport on the Kiel Fjord? Kiel grows, and urban mobility needs attractive offers to make it easier to avoid the car and to achieve ambitious climate targets.

The German brand CAPTN has presented two autonomous electric ferry concepts specially designed for the autonomous transport of passengers in conventional ferries over shorter distances.

The initiative of Kiel University “Clean Autonomous Public Transport Network (CAPTN)” addresses the entire mobility chain, specifically connections between bus and ferry services, to increase efficiency.

CAPTN Vaiaro is an autonomous electric ferry concept for ecological public transport
Concept ‘Floating Platform’: Interior with panoramic view. Credit: Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design

The project, called “CAPTN Vaiaro,” offers a glimpse into the future of the industry. Besides the Kiel University and the Muthesius University of Fine Arts & Design, a large number of actors from the world of science, economy, politics, and administration have contributed to the development of a project outline for an autonomous ferry connection between the west and east side of the Fjord.

Two different concepts were developed within the project with the names “Floating Platform” and “Passage”, each of which is a distinct design with different emphases to concretize this new form of mobility. The two ferries will allow for rapid carriage of buses and cyclists/pedestrians across the Fjord.

CAPTN Vaiaro is an autonomous electric ferry concept for ecological public transport
Concept ‘Passage’: Crossing to the other shore of the fjord. Credit: Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design

The ferries make public transportation quiet and emission-free with electricity from renewable sources. Their autonomous operation also will increase the frequency of service significantly. The ferry is designed to be available on-demand at all times, and operation is possible around the clock, every day, with integrated smart tech.

CAPTN’s motto is ‘making innovations visible,’ and it shows! The manufacturer also hopes the two ferries will become a new hope that will establish a new landmark for Kiel.

CAPTN’s team was also one of the winners of the iF Design Talent Award 2020, and the jury described this project as one that takes a highly creative and innovative approach to public transport, imagining how a car-free city can nonetheless span two sides of a major waterway.

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