Self-Piloting Ships from Google and Rolls-Royce

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  • Google has partnered with Rolls-Royce to create self-piloting ships.
  • Rolls Royce plans to launch unmanned self piloting ships by 2035.
  • Shipping costs to reduce by 22% because of this.

Google has partnered with Rolls-Royce to use its pioneering artificial intelligence (AI) to bring self-piloting capability to ships at sea. Ships could soon be piloting themselves, thanks to Google AI.

It will help in detecting, identifying and tracking the objects a vessel can encounter at sea” by integrating the image recognition power of Google’s AI and the Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine used by Rolls Royce.

Complications

Creating a self-piloting ships has more complications than creating a self-driving car.

“A typical car AI aims to replace one human — the driver — whereas a typical cargo ship has over 20 crew members, and you need to cover all of the jobs they would do on a vessel. In a lot of ways the complexity can be greater than what an automobile has to deal with”, says Karno Tenovuo, the senior vice president for ship intelligence for Rolls-Royce.

AI also needs to tackle the issue of cargo handling, security systems and other such shipping systems.

Course of Events

The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) headed by Rolls Royce has charted a course which seeks to address the key issues by enlisting the aid of leading universities, shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, and classification societies.

The AAWA report on this have highlighted 3 key areas of development — sensor fusion, control algorithms, and communication and connectivity. This is the primary goal of AI and the benchmark for all future partnerships with Google.

Effectiveness of the system

The first set self piloting ships will be operational by 2020, says Rolls Royce and with it the safety and efficiency of vessels will increase reducing the marine accidents. Almost 96% of marine accidents occur due to human error. With a self piloting unmanned ship in place, these accidents will curtail.

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Source: Madison Newspapers Inc.

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