Captain Ben Moore America’s first cargo hybrid to add autonomy

Captain Ben Moore America’s first cargo hybrid to add autonomy

Caption: Captain Ben Moore America’s first cargo hybrid to add autonomy

Captain Ben Moore is the first hybrid cargo vessel to be built in the U.S.

Its operator, Norwalk, Conn., based First Harvest Navigation, has selected Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics to add autonomous functionality to the vessel.

By installing Sea Machines’ SM300 autonomous command and remote-helm control system, it will become the first hybrid cargo vessel to feature remote crew-assist technology. It also features obstacle detection and collision avoidance technology for added operational safety.

Captain Ben Moore has been designed to operate across Long Island Sound between Norwalk and Huntington, N.Y., to deliver food and other cargo faster, more reliably and more affordably than truck transportation to East Norwalk’s Harbor Harvest food market, while also reducing regional highway congestion. Comparable trucking services require a near nine-hour round trip to deliver on the route. First Harvest Navigation completes the terminal-to-terminal voyage in approximately 35 to 45 minutes.

Bob Kunkel, president of First Harvest Navigation said, “Part of our transportation goals are to develop autonomous, hybrid catamarans to move farm products across Long Island Sound. The Sea Machines SM300 autonomous navigation system will help us achieve many of our goals because it enables shipping movements to be completed very reliably and efficiently in a seamless and sustainable delivery system. Shifting cargo from streets and highways also alleviates the growing congestion, lowers emissions and reestablishes our waterways as a viable and cost-efficient alternative to land-based transport.”

The hybrid vessel can carry approximately 28 pallets, 10 of which are positioned in a fully refrigerated and protected walk-in space. The remaining cargo spaces are open and covered according to customer requirements.