Swedish technology entrepreneurs and academia have partnered to accelerate research and development of artificial intelligence (AI)-based, semi-autonomous system for planning and executing energy-efficient sea voyages.

Lean Marine, a ship propulsion optimisation specialist, is leading the research and development project, named Via Kaizen, which started in August.

The project is being funded by Trafikverket, the Swedish Transport Administration, and is being coordinated by CIT Industriell Energi AB.

Lean Marine and AI-application developers Molflow have partnered with academics from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg to develop the new system.

Molflow’s Slipstream technology and Lean Marine’s FuelOpt and Fleet Analytics technology provide a higher degree of digitalisation and automation in ship operations.

The propulsion automation system FuelOpt optimises the propulsion line in real time based on instructions provided by the AI system that has been developed as part of the project.

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By GlobalData

FuelOpt system also collects data from the AI system and other signals onboard.

The gathered information will then be sent to Lean Marine’s cloud-based performance management platform Fleet Analytics, where it will be shared with Molflow’s vessel modelling system, Slipstream.

Molflow founder Joakim Möller said: “Molflow is committed to attaining the best use of the information hidden in the big data sets. In the Via Kaizen project, Slipstream will be trained on ship data available from Lean Marine’s Fleet Analytics platform and will describe the vessel performance in different conditions with deep-learning technologies. Our Slipstream system will then be able to determine, given the constraints of the route and the ship, the most energy-efficient voyage and calculate the commands that need to be set to reach the destination with the least possible amount of fuel consumed.”

Naval architect researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology are working closely with Lean Marine and Molflow on the development of new algorithms, methods, and models.

Researchers from Gothenburg University and Linnaeus University are conducting research on what will happen to onboard and ashore practices, following the application of the new technology.

Swedish Shipowners’ Association is also taking part in the project, and providing insights and inputs from the Swedish shipping industry.

Furthermore, a trio of ship owners and operators, including chemical / product tanker owner and operator, Rederiet Stenersen and pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) owner and operator, UECC, are also involved in the Via Kaizen project.

By offering their ships for technology and product authentications, the ship owners and operators will enable onboard testing.