Shipping is the lifeblood of global economy, but it is also one of the leading sources of greenhouse gases. Further, maritime shipping is one of the domains with higher incident risk, due to heavy traffic especially in congested waters. Hence, the maritime shipping sector faces escalating pressure for ship and crew safety, energy efficiency optimization and emissions reduction.

The sector generates extremely large volumes of data, whose potential still remains untapped due to the involvement of enormous stakeholders and the sophistication of modern vessel design and operation. This fact, together with recent advances in AI, HPC and Big Data, as well as the application of the digital twill concept, provides the maritime shipping with an unique opportunity to address the increasing demands of the sector and bring a sea-change in the Maritime Industry.

VesselAI is a three-year EU-funded research project that aims to unlock this unexploited potential by developing, validating and demonstrating a unique framework for extreme-scale data and AI services for the maritime domain, facilitating the modelling and prediction of ships’ behaviour. Using digital twin technology, the framework will efficiently fuse and assimilate huge amounts of data, enabling highly accurate modelling as well as design and operation optimisation of ships and fleets under various dynamic conditions. VesselAI will also tap into the potential of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and high-performance computing, encouraging deeper digitalisation in the shipping industry.

The technologies will be demonstrated in four maritime industry pilots: global vessel traffic monitoring and management, globally optimal ship energy system design, short-sea autonomous shipping and global fleet intelligence.

VesselAI comprises a consortium of renowned actors in maritime and ICT domains, providing a perfect mix of high-level expertise in both domains and readily accessibility to huge volumes of data to industry-leading research and innovation in the project. Project’s coordinator is the National Technical University of Athens in Greece and the project consists of 13 partners in total. The partners are Kongsberg Norcontrol AS, Massterly AS, SINTEF Ocean AS and SINTEF Digital (Norway), MarineTraffic, National Technical University of Athens and University of Piraeus (Greece), Helsinki University, VTT Research and NAPA OY (Finland), MonetDB Solutions (Netherlands), BULL SAS (France) and UNINOVA (Portugal)

The expected outcome from the project will be a unique maritime Big Data framework for processing extreme volumes of data from different sensors, ship systems, weather services, AIS data, cameras, radars, and other relevant data needed for the pilots and established digital twins that will be integrated into maritime applications. End users are fleet operators, port and coastal authorities, autonomous vessel operators and policy and decision makers.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Grant Agreement No. 957237

More information about the project can be found on CORDIS. The project website will be available here soon!