Rolls-Royce has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with global insurance firm AXA Corporate Solutions to explore ways to jointly develop products for the autonomous shipping sector.

Under the LoI, Rolls-Royce will combine its ship intelligence systems and equipment with AXA’s risk analytics capabilities to support current and future vessels.

Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence products are capable of using various sensors on-board, streaming data to enable AXA to provide an innovative service to marine vessels.

In the longer term, Rolls-Royce and AXA will monitor the changing risk profiles of maritime operations supported by increasing levels of remote control and automation, as well as new maritime business models involving autonomous ships.

Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence senior vice-president Karno Tenovuo said: “Many of our products are designed to improve performance and safety on-board.

“This cooperation reflects AXA’s continued strong focus on our Marine Specialty line of business.”

“By working with AXA and their knowledge of risk, we hope to further improve our customer’s operations.”

Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence’s current portfolio of products includes the newly launched Intelligent Awareness and Energy and Health Management solutions.

Data provided by these products could be used by AXA to manage risks currently covered by its Hull and Machinery insurance. AXA could also develop new types of products and services to support customers in volatile and difficult shipping markets using the data.

AXA Corporate Solutions Marine chief underwriting officer Mathieu Daubin said: “This cooperation reflects AXA’s continued strong focus on our Marine Specialty line of business and supports our Payer-to-Partner strategy in line with Ambition 2020.

“Combining AXA’s Marine Underwriting expertise and Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence will enable both companies to deliver higher customer value through continuous innovation.”

AXA Corporate Solutions currently provides insurance solutions, loss prevention and claims handling services to large companies.