Trial Begins to Bring Artificial Intelligence to Container Ships

25 April 2018
The AI will be used on board a shipping vessel such as this one. Source: A.P. Moller-Maersk

Sea Machines Robotics has signed a contract with Denmark-based A.P. Moller-Maersk for a project that will place computer vision, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and perception software on Maersk’s newly-built Winter Palace ice-class container ships.

The company claims this is the first time artificial intelligence will be utilized aboard a shipping vessel to augment and upgrade transit operations. The system will be used to improve at-sea situational awareness, object identification and tracking capabilities.

Sea Machines says the system is similar to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) found in automobiles that alert drivers of hazards and prevent accidents. Instead, this system uses advanced sensors to collect a stream of information from the vessel’s environmental surroundings, identify and track potential conflicts and display them in the wheelhouse for safer and more efficient maritime operations.

The goal of the trial for Maersk is to prove the technology aids seafarers, can remove the line of sight restriction from the bridge and provides the infrastructure for a future autonomous collision avoidance system.

The deal with Maersk is Sea Machines’ first foray into the shipping sector as the company has already established similar projects with Tuco Marine to test the autonomous technology aboard ProZero workboats.

That pilot project is an industrial-grade control system that provides autonomous and remote vessel control for workboats and other commercial marine vessels. The system, SM300, serves operators looking for level 3 operator-in-the-loop autonomy in survey, spill response, dredging and security/intelligence. Sea Machines is also developing advanced perception technology and navigation assistance technology for a range of vessel types.

Sea Machines is also opening a second location in Hamburg, Germany, in order to meet growing demand for engineering, sales and marketing across Europe.

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