Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk has teamed up with Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics to trial the tech hub’s perception and situational awareness technology aboard one of its newbuild Winter Palace ice-class containerships.
The installation marks the first-time utilization of computer vision, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and perception software aboard a container vessel to augment and upgrade transit operations.
The solution chosen by Maersk uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve at-sea situational awareness, object identification and tracking capabilities, Sea Machines Robotics said.
As explained, the system uses advanced sensors to collect a continuous stream of information from a vessel’s environmental surroundings, identify and track potential conflicts, and displays the knowledge in the wheelhouse.
By turning to such a system Maersk wants to prove the technology can remove the line of sight restriction from the bridge, providing the infrastructure for a future autonomous collision avoidance system.
“This partnership with Maersk marks our first foray into the shipping sector and allows us to positively contribute towards the operator’s technology goals. Our mission is to propel the maritime industry forward with 21st-century technology and it’s exciting to see the growing demand for Sea Machines products,” Michael Johnson, founder and CEO of Sea Machines, said.
“For this containership situational awareness program, 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,” said P. Michael A. Rodey, senior innovation manager, A.P. Moller-Maersk.
The duo started exploring their collaboration three years ago, according to Rodey, when the company was developing the concepts of its first autonomous systems.
Sea Machines is also managing a pilot program with Tuco Marine, of Denmark, to test the autonomous technology aboard ProZero workboats. Its first industrial-grade control system, the SM300, serves operations looking for level 3 operator-in-the loop autonomy in survey, spill response, dredging and security/surveillance.