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  May 8th, 2018 | Written by

Maersk to Test AI-Powered Situational Awareness System Aboard Containership

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  • System uses artificial intelligence to improve situational awareness, object identification, and tracking capabilities.
  • System uses sensors to collect data from a vessel’s surroundings and identify and track potential conflicts.
  • Installation is first time computer vision, LiDAR, and perception software are used on container vessel.

Maersk Line will test what is said to be the world’s first AI-powered situational awareness system aboard one of its containerships. The world’s largest container carrier has partnered with Sea Machines Robotics to test the tech company’s technology aboard one of Maersk’s newbuild ice-class container ships.

Sea Machines Robotics says its system uses artificial intelligence to improve situational awareness, object identification, and tracking capabilities. Similar to systems found in cars, the Sea Machines system uses sensors to collect a stream of data from a vessel’s surroundings, identify and track potential conflicts, and display information in the wheelhouse.

“The deal is significant to the larger maritime industry as the installation marks first time computer vision, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), and perception software will be utilized aboard a container vessel to augment and upgrade transit operations,” said a Sea Machines statement.

“This partnership with Maersk marks our first foray into the shipping sector and allows us to positively contribute towards the operator’s technology goals,” said Michael Johnson, founder and CEO of Sea Machines.

“Our team first met Sea Machines around three years ago when they were developing the concepts of their first autonomous systems, and already we were impressed with their technical capability, planned product path, and practical understanding of the future needs of the marine market,” said P. Michael A. Rodey, senior innovation manager at A.P. Moller-Maersk. “We aim to prove the technology increases our safety, efficiency and reliability. Autonomous vessels are not an end goal for Maersk nor is unmanned vessels; what is more of interest is the technology along the journey and the value it brings.”

The first ship in Maersk’s new ice-class containerships, named Vistula Maersk, made its maiden call recently in St. Petersburg, Russia, after sailing from Rotterdam. The vessel is first of seven purpose-built vessels to serve the North Sea and Baltic Sea for Seago Line, the intra-Europe and short-sea carrier of Maersk. The vessels are touted as the world’s largest ice-class containerships.