A group of Swedish technology entrepreneurs and academics joined forces to accelerate the research and development of an AI-based, semi-autonomous system for planning and executing more energy efficient sea voyages.
Leading the effort is Lean Marine, aiming to deliver a ground-breaking R&D project to accelerate the tech development, realization, and adoption of AI-powered ship operation support technology by ship crew and management. The Via Kaizen project is funded by the Swedish Transport Administration, Trafikverket and is being coordinated by CIT Industriell Energi AB.
Lean Marine and AI-application developers Molflow have been collaborating with academics from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg to develop the new AI-powered, semi-autonomous system for planning and executing more energy efficient sea voyages since the project commenced in August 2020.
Lean Marine’s FuelOpt and Fleet Analytics technology and Molflow’s Slipstream technology are designed to enable a higher degree of digitalization and automation in vessel operations. The ‘on top’ propulsion automation system FuelOpt optimizes the propulsion line dynamically, in real-time, based on orders given by the AI system that has been developed within the scope of the Via Kaizen project.
In addition, the FuelOpt system gathers data from the AI system and other signals onboard. The vast amount of vessel data collected is then fed into Lean Marine’s cloud-based performance management platform Fleet Analytics where it will be shared with Molflow’s vessel modelling system, Slipstream.
From an academic perspective, naval architect researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology are working in close collaboration with Lean Marine and Molflow on the development of new methods, models, and algorithms. Researchers from social anthropology and human factors at Gothenburg University and Linnaeus University are conducting research on what happens to practices onboard 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 by contributing to the dissemination of research findings and development information to the Swedish maritime industry.
In addition to the project partners, a trio of ship owners and operators are involved in the Via Kaizen project, including chemical/product tanker owner and operator, Rederiet Stenersen and pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) owner and operator, UECC. By offering their vessels for technology and product validations, they will enable on-board testing, and the results will be directly evaluated within the scope of the project.