A 3D Printed Ferry Could Be Part of the 2024 Summer Olympics

Published on April 4, 2023 by Avery S.
2024 Olympics 3D printed ferry

The Summer Olympics are still a year away, but it already seems that 3D printing will have its own role to play. French inland waterway authority, Vois Navigables de France (VNF) has been seeking environmentally friendly river shuttles for the 2024 Olympic Games for athletes and visitors to use as transportation. In December, three projects were chosen for this endeavor, including one led by Holland Shipyards Group, Sequana Développement, and Roboat. And as mentioned, we are particularly interested in them because they will be at least partially constructed with 3D printing. According to the companies, the hull of the ferry will be entirely 3D printed from recycled materials. The boat will be able to transport up to 35 people at a time along the Seine river, where the aquatic games are set to take place.

The world-renowned competition starts on July 26th, 2024, this time in Paris, France. Amid the preparation process to meet infrastructural, housing, and venue quotas (among others) for a successful event, the French government has challenged everybody involved to preserve the environment and work in a way that respects the climate challenges we face today. In its official press release, VNF stated: “River transport offers a major opportunity to meet the climate and environmental challenge as an alternative to road transport for the mobility of people and the logistics of goods.” VNF is experimenting with transport operators, local authorities, and industrialists with new waterway uses, such as last-mile logistics or the use of innovative, low-carbon modes of propulsion. Therefore, with this in mind, the call for more eco-friendly ferries was launched to help create zero-emission autonomous boats. The boats will be self-driving, thanks to integrated sensors and other sophisticated tools.

Hyke Rivercat is one of three companies selected for this project (photo credits: Hyke Rivercat)

Holland Shipyards Group, Sequana Développement and Roboat are among the three successful projects relying on additive manufacturing to design their autonomous boat. Perhaps the name “Roboat” rings a bell: it is an initiative led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team to develop autonomous boats, which began in Amsterdam. In the case of the 2024 Olympics, it will be a 9-meter long and 3.9-meter-wide structure with electric propulsion and an automatic docking system. We are particularly interested in the hull of this future river shuttle, made by 3D printing from recycled materials. The manufacturing style of the hull is unknown, though it is plausible that either an extrusion machine or even a robotic arm, was used. It remains to be seen if these autonomous shuttles will be ready for the Olympic Games and how many will be deployed in the capital to facilitate transportation. In the meantime, find the official press release HERE.

What do you think of these 3D printed ferries for the Summer Olympics? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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