Orca AI Secures $23 Million to Advance Autonomous Maritime Technology

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Orca AI, a pioneering AI-based operational platform for ships, has successfully raised US$23 million in a recent funding round. Led by OCV Partners and Mizmaa Ventures, this latest financial boost brings the company’s total funding to nearly US$40 million. Orca AI is at the forefront of integrating autonomous features into existing vessels to enhance safety, efficiency, and sustainability in the maritime industry.

Recognition and Industry Impact
The company was recently honored with the 2024 Maritime Safety Award from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA), sponsored by Lloyd’s Register. This accolade acknowledges Orca AI’s contributions to improving safety and vessel efficiency in the maritime sector. Orders for the platform are now projected to exceed 1,000 vessels.

Innovative AI-Based Platform
Founded by naval technology experts Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, Orca AI has developed a platform that acts as an automated watchkeeper. This system processes multiple sources of visual information during navigation, enhancing human watchkeeping capabilities in real time, particularly in complex marine traffic situations. Since its establishment, the company has achieved significant milestones, including powering the world’s first autonomous commercial ship voyage with NYK in 2022. Orca AI is currently working on the next phase of its autonomous ship technology, scheduled for rollout in 2025.

Founders and Company Milestones
Orca AI was founded by Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, both naval technology experts. The company has made significant strides in autonomous maritime technology, notably powering the world’s first autonomous commercial ship voyage with NYK in 2022. The next phase of their technology is expected to be released in 2025.

Technological Advancements and Connectivity
Yarden Gross, CEO and co-founder of Orca AI, emphasized the importance of recent connectivity innovations, such as Elon Musk’s Starlink, in enabling advanced AI technologies onboard vessels. He noted that despite the maritime industry’s critical role in global trade, it has lagged behind other sectors in technological advancements. Orca AI’s technology offers significant improvements in operational efficiency and safety, essential for shipping companies aiming to meet sustainability targets.

Safety and Efficiency Benefits
Orca AI’s technology has already demonstrated a substantial impact. In 2023, over 2,500 significant marine incidents were reported globally. However, Orca AI’s collaboration with major shipping companies such as MSC, NYK, Maersk, and Seaspan has led to a 33% reduction in close encounters and a 40% reduction in crossing events over 15 million nautical miles. These improvements not only enhance safety but also offer economic and environmental benefits.

Economic and Environmental Impact
By alerting crews to high-risk marine targets, Orca AI’s software aids navigation and helps avoid unnecessary maneuvers and speed drops, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and emissions. According to the company, this translates to an average saving of $100,000 to $300,000 in fuel costs per vessel per year and a reduction of 172,716 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Future Prospects and Industry Potential
Hemi Zucker, Managing Partner at OCV Partners, highlighted the significant progress made in autopilot and collision prevention for other modes of transport and emphasized the shipping industry’s potential for similar advancements. Catherine Leung, Co-Founder and Partner at MizMaa Ventures echoed these sentiments, noting that smarter navigation choices can enhance safety and help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The new investment capital will enable Orca AI to continue developing innovative and efficient maritime navigation software, driving further advancements in the industry.

 

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Source: RINA.org