The Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships (NFAS) is an interest group for persons or organizations that are interested in the subject of autonomous ships. Membership in NFAS is open to individuals and organizations established in Norway.
The initiative to establish the forum was taken by the Norwegian Maritime Administration, The Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Federation of Norwegian Industries and MARINTEK (now SINTEF Ocean) in the early part of 2016. The interest in such a forum turned out to be large so the forum was established October 4th 2016 in Oslo in conjunction with a conference on autonomous ships. More than 110 people attended the initial conference and 30 organisations and individuals signed up to NFAS immediately after the conference.
The premise for the forum is that fully or partly unmanned ships will be an important part of the future transport system in Europe and the world. However, to get to a situation where such systems become a normal part of transport, there are a number of general challenges to overcome. This includes public acceptance, acceptable risk levels, efficient design and approval processes and more. These challenges are obviously better addressed by the industry as a group than individually, and that is also the basis for this interest group.
The objectives of the organisation are to:
- strengthen the cooperation between users, researchers, authorities and others that are interested in autonomous ships and their use. This includes arranging conferences, producing newsletters and courses. NFAS also maintains these web pages as a part of the dissemination strategy and as an information archive for its users;
- contribute to the development of common Norwegian strategies for development and use of autonomous ships. This includes, e.g. research and innovation strategies, rules and approval principles and national test facilities;
- be a common voice for the development and use of autonomous ships based on the interest organisations objectives; and
- strengthen the Norwegian interest group's international contacts and influence within the area of autonomous ships. This means, among other things, to support the establishment of similar organisations in other countries and participation in international networks with similar interests as NFAS.
NFAS is a forum for Norwegian organisations, but we also want to contribute to building an international network of similar organisations in other countries. There are many challenges in this area that need international cooperation and agreements, particularly for ships in international traffic.
The NFAS secretariat is hosted by SINTEF Ocean in Trondheim. The secretariat will be the general point of contact and will be responsible for daily operations of the interest group. This involves organizing various gatherings and meetings and facilitating workshops.
The manager is Ørnulf Jan Rødseth.