Shipping Giant To Roll Out Orca AI Platform Across Fleet

Credits: Tara Winstead/ Pexels

Japanese shipowner Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Group intends to install Israeli marine software developer Orca AI’s collision avoidance platform across the NYK fleet, which includes bulk carriers, tankers and container ships, reports Riviera.

Orca AI

NYK trialled a prOrca AIototype of Orca AI’s automatic ship target recognition system, which helps verify the safety of a ship’s operation by automating the task of recognising dangerous objects. This system can automatically recognise dangerous targets and other vessels that may be overlooked by the human eye, especially at night and in congested waters.

NYK said the impetus to roll out the Orca AI software was the search for a safety system that could enable and empower vessel crews to make better real-time decisions while navigating congested oceans. NYK Group autonomous ship team manager Captain Jun Nakamura said the company also wanted to develop its understanding of navigational challenges facing the fleet and how they were being managed.

Capt Nakamura said, “Orca AI demonstrated safety of shipping operations can be improved by automating the task of target detection in low visibility in congested waters.” 

The software received a product design assessment certification from class society ABS last year.

Orca AI chief executive and co-founder Yarden Gross added, “We are excited to partner with tech leaders such as NYK, deepening our collaboration with the company and supporting its ongoing aim to be a central player in the shipping industry’s digital revolution.”

To date, Orca AI’s technology has already captured over 10M nautical miles of visual data. According to internal analysis across a sample of 110 vessels equipped with the company platform, Orca AI said its customers saw a 26.9% reduction in the number of close encounter events, a 21.6% decline in sharp manoeuvres, and an 18% reduction in extreme drops of speed.

Both companies have also completed a successful autonomous voyage trial in congested waters near Japan’s east coast through the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ships consortium, which includes 30 Japanese firms.

The NYK trial – known as the MEGURI2040 Project and supported by the Nippon Foundation – was carried out on Suzaku, a 749-gt autonomous container ship fitted with Orca’s artificial intelligence and deep-learning technology. Travelling from Tokyo Bay to the port of Tsumatsusaka in the Ise Bay, the vessel achieved 40 hours of navigation with complete autonomy for about 98% of the voyage.

The vessel automatically carried out 107 collision avoidance manoeuvres and avoided up to 500 ships using Orca’s safety navigation system. The platform provided real-time detection, tracking and range estimation through 18 cameras with panoramic views operating 24/7 in any conditions.

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Source: Riviera