The future of shipping: emission-free and autonomous

Würth Elektronik with Unleash Future Boats at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL Berlin

On Thursday, 17 June 2021, Würth Elektronik and Unleash Future Boats unveiled the "ZeroOne" prototype for an emission-free, autonomous watercraft at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL in Berlin. Würth Elektronik is a technology partner of the start-up and supports with modern electronics to make the revolutionary concept for emission-free water vehicles of the future a reality.

With their start-up Unleash Future Boats GmbH, developers Stefanie and Lars Engelhard, who come from the automotive industry, are working to minimize the environmental impact of shipping. The first concrete solution is the slingshot boats, whose ZeroOne prototype was unveiled together with Würth Elektronik at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL. Water pollution from fuels and lubricants, air pollution and noise pollution from combustion engines, and a patchy range of ferry services are problems familiar to the Schlei region in Schleswig-Holstein, but also to many coastal regions around the world. Unleash Future Boats' solution is autonomous high-tech catamarans powered by electric propulsion with fuel cells and green hydrogen. The low-entry, barrier-free on-demand water cabs are to become part of a sustainable mobility concept for the population and guests of the Schlei region and serve as a model for other coastal regions and inland waters. In the future, the environmentally friendly propulsion method will also be available as a conversion technology for conventionally powered vessels. GREENTECH FESTIVAL founders Marco Voigt and Nico Rosberg took the opportunity to sign the innovative prototype directly on the eve of the event.

Technology partner helps with communication solution

As a partner of the start-up, Würth Elektronik not only arranges contacts with various companies in the Würth Group such as Würth Maritim and Würth Industrie, but also offers know-how and support in the development of the electronic components. Currently, development kits and radio modules from the electronics manufacturer are being used to evaluate various solutions for communication between the boats. Based on their many years of experience with automotive assistance systems, the founders of Unleash Future Boats are tackling completely new challenges with the development of sensor technology and systems for autonomous watercraft. Four international patent applications are already in preparation; this is where the sensor division of Würth Elektronik can contribute.

"We are delighted to be able to present an important building block for the sustainable future of shipping together with Unleash Future Boats at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL. It is just one example of how we are using our experience and resources to empower innovative startups to tackle technical challenges and thus bring groundbreaking, sustainable technologies to market faster," said Alexander Gerfer, CTO of the Würth Elektronik eiSos Group.

"We are very pleased to partner with Würth Elektronik, who are supporting us in a variety of ways. We are planning a technology transfer from automotive to maritime mobility and want to change shipping sustainably," explains Lars Engelhard, CEO of Unleash Future Boats.