ABB is the frontrunner in electric power and propulsion. Our AzipodÂ® propulsion system, the first electric azimuthing podded propulsion introduced to the market, is an example of technology with such clear advantages that it has established an industry standard
Azipod is the ABB Groups registered brand name for their azimuth thruster. Originally developed in Finland jointly by Kvaerner Masa-Yards dockyards and ABB, these are marine propulsion units consisting of diesel-electric-driven propellers mounted on a steerable pod.
In the traditional azimuth propulsion system the motor is inside the ships hull and the propeller is driven through shafts and gearboxes. In the Azipod system the electric motor is inside the pod, and the propeller is connected directly to the motor shaft. The AC engine of the pod is driven by AC power from the ships generator by a cycloconverter.  By avoiding the use of a traditional propeller shaft, the propeller can be further below the stern of the ship in a clear flow of water providing greater hydrodynamic and mechanical efficiency. The first vessel to feature the Azipod (1.5MW unit power) was the Seili , a waterway service vessel of the Finnish Maritime Administration with the installation in 1990.  The vessel remains in use as of 2013, but her propulsion system has since been upgraded and the first Azipod ever installed on a ship is on display at the Forum Marinum maritime museum in Turku. (The reference includes a picture of the original unit)
Electric power for the Azipod motor is conducted through slip rings that let the Azipod rotate through 360 degrees. Because fixed pitch propellers are used in Azipods, power for an Azipod system is always fed through a variable-frequency drive or cycloconverter that allows speed and direction control of the propulsion motors.