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Navigating the oceans with help from AI: Q&A with Orca AI

By Frankie Youd 04 May 2021 (Last Updated April 30th, 2021 15:57)

Navigating the world’s oceans is a dangerous task for marine workers especially with unpredictable weather conditions and reduced visibility during storms. AI technology from Orca AI aims to reduce these challenges for maritime workers.

Navigating the oceans with help from AI: Q&A with Orca AI
Navigating the world’s oceans is a dangerous task for marine workers especially with unpredictable weather conditions and reduced visibility during storms. Credit: Ibrahim.

Out at sea, those working in the maritime industry are faced with increasingly congested waterways, dangerous weather and challenging visibility conditions, which present navigation challenges.

According to the European Maritime Safety Agency, there were 3,173 maritime casualties and incidents reported in 2019 alone, with the last five years averaging around 3,239. One way to mitigate these incidents is via the use of improved navigation technology.

Orca AI, a company whose goal is to provide the industry with intelligent navigation solutions to prevent collisions and save lives, offers technology to reduce human-caused navigation errors through intelligent AI.

This technology allows the captain and crew access to real-time environment views which assists with decision making. We spoke with Dor Raviv, co-founder & CTO, Orca AI, to find out more about the solution.

 

Credit: Orca AI.

 

Frankie Youd (FY): Could you outline how the technology works and what it aims to achieve?

Dor Raviv (DR): The main aim of Orca AI’s technology is to enhance the safety of the shipping industry through a data-driven approach at fleet level. Utilising onboard navigation sensors and high-resolution cameras with proprietary AI algorithms, the technology is able to provide valuable insight such as alerting the crew on dangerous targets, prioritize risk in real time and sort out complex navigation situations.

Additionally, the technology collects data, stored in the cloud; a vital tool for data analysis. Valuable and actionable takeaways can then be extracted and analysed to generate safety insights. Fleet managers can learn about how ships behave in terms of their safety parameters, understand specific areas in the world known to be more prone to risk, how many manoeuvres they perform and why, all with the view to make informative decisions moving forward.

 

FY: Why was AI chosen over other technology?

DR: We acknowledge that AI may not be the solution to everything. However, in this instance and with our mission to enhance safety within the shipping industry, we deem it essential. This technology provides the solution to analyse masses amounts of raw data, process it and uncover unseen targets, all while removing the need for hand-crafted statistical methods which requires time and often brings with it inaccuracy.

With Orca AI, artificial intelligence is used to detect targets at sea, estimating navigation parameters and analysing huge amounts of data at fleet level to generate insights.

The solution also provides an interesting twist. In the shipping industry, one of the biggest hurdles faced is the lack of experienced seafarers. Orca AI aims to provide tools for education within the industry. Its technology can allow for teams to demand a record of footage, accompanied by sensors and analysis, to investigate and reflect on how they have been performing to improve future work. In this respect, AI provides a realistic approach to empower and better the industry.

 

FY: What are the different options available for the shipping industry?

DR: The shipping industry is traditional. Traditional methods of ship auditing, interviewing the crew and occasionally monitoring the ships, is neither a scalable nor cost-efficient system. It brings with it expense and the impossible task of monitoring whether the crew are adhering to safety standards when they are not being monitored. Therefore, it completely misses the aim of providing the consistent monitoring that bodies such as insurance companies may require.

This is where the attractive alternative of digitalisation comes in. Connectivity and use of data are becoming increasingly important in understanding the industry. Ships are more connected than before, and all major shipping companies are looking for digital solutions.

It can reduce emissions, optimise voyages, provide real-time analytics, and give a level of transparency that creates a consensus on events which in turn can be used to better handle claims. The data is fuel for interesting use cases in the industry such as asset management, fuel, and safety optimisation and therefore is becoming a much more viable option adopted throughout.

 

FY: What are the key benefits of this technology?

DR: A key benefit of Orca AI’s technology is its ability to understand the maritime environment as well as any captain and to process raw data to generate actionable insights. It enables crews to reflect on specific events and understand why they happened.

The main use cases and benefits are the guarantee that it will monitor and prevent risk, it will reduce workload, provide the ability to safeguard teams, supply the tools to record events for insurance purposes and will give unprecedented transparency between ship and shore and effective training.

 

FY: Can this technology be fitted onto any vessel or is additional technology/infrastructure needed?

DR: AI brings with it a whole host of possibilities and really has no restrictions. Since Orca AI’s technology is designed specifically for the maritime domain, this technology fits into any offshore operations. There are many additional use cases for this technology, such as pirate detection and offshore constructions monitoring.

 

FY: Are there any plans for future technology development?

DR: We see a future whereby ships are intelligent and able to make decisions autonomously based on data, getting from A-B on their own, all while communicating with others. These intelligent ships will also make decisions based on the type of operation they are trying to achieve. For example, being efficient does not always necessarily mean fast.

 

FY: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

DR: Orca AI’s key aim is to enhance safety whether that be through reducing claims and collisions or reducing environmental damage and emissions. The use of AI technology is an effective platform to achieve this.