Polar Ship Navigation Is Now Easier With Innovative AI Tool

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Credit: Jusdevoyage/Unsplash
  • The first stage of the project is to develop a tool which can optimise route planning for carbon efficiency.
  • This route planner is therefore a key piece in the puzzle in helping BAS achieve its aim of being net zero by 2040.
  • Integration with onboard systems on the SDA began in November of this year.

With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), British Antarctic Survey (BAS) researchers have developed a new route planning tool that will make ships sailing in polar ocean conditions more effective. The technology promises to improve science while lowering carbon emissions as reported by Safety4Sea.

Route planning 

The crew of the UK’s polar research ship RRS Sir David Attenborough will utilise the system, which is being developed by the BAS AI Lab, to decide on route planning.

Considering all polar circumstances, including sea ice, ocean dynamics, and weather, it will suggest the quickest and most fuel-efficient routes between two points. The captain and the other officers can assess the available possibilities and decide which path is best.

To create a navigational route planner that updates as conditions change, much like an in-car navigation system, the project team has created algorithms that utilise a wide range of available environmental statistics and forecasts.

Logistics and  scientific tasks

“The tool will be able to look ahead and predict environmental conditions over an entire research season of up to six months, allowing long-term seasonal route planning.

We’ve created something that is very similar to the kind of in-car navigation system like Google maps that many of us use already, but with the added complication that in the ocean there are no roads, and the conditions are changing constantly, which affects the routes between destinations”

said Professor Maria Fox, from the BAS AI Lab who leads the project.

The project’s initial step is to create a tool that can improve route planning for carbon reduction. Therefore, this route planner is a crucial component in helping BAS reach its goal of being net zero by 2040. In November of this year, integration with the SDA’s onboard systems started.

In order to improve the model and route efficiency, even more, the team will incorporate more real-time data from the ship as the tool matures, such as speed and fuel requirements in various conditions. In the future, the team wants to incorporate logistics and scientific tasks into the planning tool.

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Source: Safety4Sea

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