Japanese shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and SenseTime Japan have released a vessel image recognition and recording system to support automated monitoring of ships.

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the system will be installed and tested on board the cruise ship Nippon Maru, which is managed by Mitsui OSK Passenger Line.

The new system’s graphics recognition engine has been developed using MOL’s AI deep learning technology.

Featuring a terminal equipped with a graphics processing unit (GPU) along with ultra high-resolution cameras, the system can automatically detect and record ships with high precision.

MOL said that the image recognition technology works optimally even at night or in conditions without clear visibility.

It also recognises small vessels that are difficult to identify by vessel automatic identification systems (AIS).

In the future, the technology can be combined with other systems to develop automated ship watchkeeping.

Additionally, MOL will assess the automatically recorded data so that the analysis accuracy of image recognition engine can be further augmented.

This system automatically records image data. MOL noted that it intends to analyse the accumulated data and use it to further improve the image recognition engine’s analysis accuracy.

The launch of the new system forms part of the company’s ‘Ishin Next – MOL Smart Ship Project’, which was launched in 2016. This project is aimed at leveraging information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance service quality and efficiency.

In June, Hong Kong LNG Terminal signed a charter contract with Mitsui OSK Lines to supply a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) for an offshore terminal project.