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Autonomous ships are on the horizon: here’s what we need to know

The world's first self-propelled, electric container ship MV Yara Birkeland is moored at Langkaia in Oslo, on November 19, 2021.

By 2024, the Norwegian container ship Yara Birkeland is expected to carry fertilizer autonomously from plant to port with zero emissions. Credit: Torstein Bøe/NTB/AFP via Getty

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Nature 615, 30-33 (2023)



  1. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Review of Maritime Transport (UNCTAD, 2022).

  2. International Maritime Organization. Fourth IMO Greenhouse Gas Study (IMO, 2020).

    Google Scholar 

  3. ABS. News Brief: MSC 106 (ABS, 2022).

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Competing Interests

The authors declare no competing interests.


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