The CAPTN initiative was initiated in 2018 by Kiel University. The initial focus was on the development of an autonomous and clean passenger ferry that would connect the east and west banks of the Kiel Fjord – and thus the university campuses. As a first step, the CAPTN Fjord Area project was created. In March 2021, the Federal Ministry of Transport approved funding for the construction of a digital test field and a test vehicle. The “MS Wavelab” – a 21 meter long and eight meter wide catamaran on which autonomous shipping is being researched – was under construction at the Gebrüder Friedrich shipyard in Kiel until the beginning of 2023.

In late 2021, a project followed that focused on developing and extending the 5G mobile network (CAPTN Fjord 5G). It was also funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport. Since than, CAPTN has sprouted even more projects, working towards the vision of establishing a network of autonomous vehicles for public transport. Among these are the second stage of CAPTN Fjord Area, CAPTN Flex, which will be creating a flexible and demand-orientated solution for public transport, as well as CAPTn Energy. This project focuses on the production and transport of green hydrogen and its use for maritime players.

Kiel University supports the development of the CAPTN initiative with funds. The state of Schleswig-Holstein also financially aids CAPTN as an innovation-oriented network with numerous programs, such as ERDF funds from the European Union, the state’s economic development program, and funds for the use of artificial intelligence in Schleswig-Holstein (KI funding guidelines). The third funding source is the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It is supporting CAPTN Energy with funds from “WIR! – Change through Innovation in the Region”. In addition, the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry for Energy Conversion, Climate Protection, Environment and Nature (MEKUN) is co-financing the project with 300,000 euros.

Here you can find out more about our activities in the subject areas
Water mobility, infrastructure and cooperation:

Water mobility

As an initiative of a city on the water, we want to create better connections and bridge what separates us. We rely on a network that links waterways with roads and rails. Mobility on the water is our core competence; sustainable mobility for everyone is our goal.


A sustainable mobility chain requires a modern, safe and stable infrastructure. This includes network expansion as well as applications with support of artificial intelligence and the seamless integration of connected systems.


The CAPTN initiative is by definition a large network that places great value and emphasis on cooperation with other organisations, industry and research partners. Only as one we can achieve our goal of a comprehensive, sustainable and safe mobility chain on water and on land.