Yara Marine Technologies, Molflow, and academics from Chalmers University of Technology, Halmstad University and Gothenburg University have concluded a 3-year project aimed at developing an AI-based semi-autonomous system to enable more energy efficient sea voyages.
Energy Efficient Voyage
Maritime technology company Yara Marine Technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) application developers Molflow, and Chalmers University of Technology and social science specialists from Halmstad University and Gothenburg University have collaborated over 3 years to develop and trial an AI-based semi-autonomous voyage planning system. Initiated in August 2020, the Via Kaizen project explores how AI and machine learning can enable more energy-efficient voyage planning for ship operators. Funded by the Swedish Transport Administration Trafikverket, the project utilized pre-existing tools, to enable a higher degree of digitization and automation in vessel operations.
These included Yara Marine’s propulsion optimization system FuelOpt and performance management and vessel data reporting tool Fleet Analytics, as well as Molflow’s vessel modeling system Slipstream. Existing work practices onboard and user needs were analyzed during the design process to ensure the technology facilitated processes and decisions with the greatest impact on energy efficiency. The resulting system was trialed onboard two vessels, a PCTC car carrier operated by UECC and a Rederiet Stenersen product tanker. The wide-ranging results indicated successful energy efficiency optimization based on estimated time of arrival (ETA), with one of the two trial vessels opting to continue using the system.
Digitalization And Decarbonization
The Via Kaizen project demonstrated that incorporating machine-learning algorithms for improved predictive modeling of ship propulsion power can result in more accurate performance forecasting and optimization. It also evidenced the necessity of constructive collaboration between technology developers and users, as well as between ship operators and their customers. Martin Viktorelius of Halmstad University said, “Maritime’s ability to successfully decarbonize is dependent on its highly skilled workforce, and necessitates that we invest in creating seafarer support for digitalization and decarbonization. Clean technologies must prioritize intuitive, user-friendly interfaces and understand existing operations to maximize crew support and uptake of AI-powered solutions. The Via Kaizen project engaged with crew to explore and establish key parameters that crew indicated hindered their support of voyage efficiency.”
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