Lean Marine, a Swedish firm specialising in propulsion optimisation, is leading a project involving Swedish technology firms and academia in accelerating the research and development of an AI-based, semi-autonomous system for planning and executing more energy-efficient sea voyages
The Via Kaizen project is funded by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and is co-ordinated by CIT Industriell Energi. Lean Marine and AI-application developers Molflow are collaborating with academics from Gothenburg’s Chalmers University of Technology to develop a new AI-powered, semi-autonomous system to plan and conduct efficient sea voyages.
Lean Marine said the company’s patented FuelOpt and Fleet Analytics technology and Molflow’s slipstream technology enable a higher degree of digitalisation and automation in vessel operations.
FuelOpt’s ‘on top’ propulsion automation system optimises propulsion in real-time, based on orders given by the AI system developed within the Via Kaizen project while the FuelOpt system gathers data from the AI system and other signals on board. The resulting vessel data collected is then fed into the cloud-based performance management platform Fleet Analytics where it will be shared with Molflow’s vessel modelling system, Slipstream.
The Slipstream system will be trained on ship data available from Fleet Analytics. Molflow’s founder Joakim Möller said the system “will describe the vessel performance in different conditions with deep learning technologies” and added, “Our Slipstream system will then be able to determine, given the constraints of the route and the ship, the most energy efficient voyage and calculate the commands that need to be set to reach the destination with the least possible amount of fuel consumed.”
Lean Marine director of developments Linus Ideskog said “Once the perfect simulated journey is determined, FuelOpt steps in and creates an interface between the captain and the AI-based voyage planning solution, empowering them to co-operate and execute the voyage accordingly. FuelOpt will act as a key enabler in AI-powered voyages thanks to its ability to automatically and directly optimise the propulsion line based on commands set by the captain and/or sent by the AI voyage optimisation solution, in this case from SlipStream.”
In addition, researchers from social anthropology and human factors at Gothenburg University and Linnaeus University are conducting research on what happens to practices on board and ashore as the new technology is implemented.
The Swedish Shipowners’Association is also participating in the project, providing insights and input from the Swedish shipping industry and contributing to the dissemination of research and development information to the industry.
In addition to the project partners, chemical/product tanker owner and operator Rederiet Stenersen and pure car and truck carrier owner and operator UECC are offering their vessels for technology and product validations, and will enable onboard testing with the results directly evaluated within the scope of the Via Kaizen project.