NYK And Orca AI To Jointly Work For New Safety Support Systems For Autonomous Vessels

Japan-based shipping line Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and MTI Co. Ltd. (MTI) have set up Orca AI’s Automatic Ship Target Recognition System onto an NYK group vessel for the purpose of research on the future of autonomous operations within the shipping domain. If the trial gets successful, all the companies will look forward to creating autonomous cargo ships.

NYK And Orca AI To Jointly Work For New Safety Support Systems For Autonomous Vessels
Image Via: NYK

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Orca’s AI navigation and collision avoidance system will be beneficial to build a new lookout support system for vessels for providing ameliorated visibility in tough situations, which would result in the prevention of human errors and assisting crews to make informed decisions.

Mr. Yarden Gross, CEO, and co-founder of Orca AI, reported: “The challenges faced by the maritime industry are numerous and there is a continual need to make shipping safer, to sustain trade and protect the maritime environment. By adopting an Automatic Ship Target Recognition System and embracing technology, we can create a connected maritime industry that is able to protect crew and cargo by identifying risks straight away. We’re delighted to be working closely with Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha in discovering what lies ahead and bringing the industry one step closer to fully autonomous ships.”

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An estimated number of 4,000 accidents take place every year due to low situation awareness in congested regions, absence of office visibility regarding misses and risk patterns and not having enough data to handle potential incidents.

This trial will help analyze the system’s ability to recognize dangerous targets and other vessels automatically, which may be failed to notice by the human eye at night and in congested areas, with the use of thermal cameras and vision sensors, and last but not the least, the AI-run algorithms which help analyze the environment continuously.

A camera unit will shoot day and night to recall ships and targets automatically and measure the distance to them. The information that came from navigational equipment; including vessel names, distance, and time when the ship is closest to the target, can be superimposed and displayed in a combined manner to a tablet or touch-panel monitor display.

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Furthermore, the system is epoch-making as it can recognize small fishing boats and small markers independently that are not captured by radar and not equipped with AIS. The system measures the distance to these targets and notifies the person on duty of the danger of collision.

Surrounding images captured are analysed using artificial intelligence (AI) on Orca AI’s server, which utilizes machine learning and then updates the onboard software remotely. This mechanism advances performance such as recognition rate through continuing use. In addition to the captured video, navigation instrument information is directed to the server and displayed together with the video data, making it possible to monitor the movement of the ship and examine the situation from the land office.

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Started on 30th August, the trial will verify detection capability and contribution to lookout work, ameliorate the target detection algorithm through data collection and machine learning, and improve the recognition rate.

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