Stena Line has launched a pilot study where artificial intelligence technology (AI) is implemented on board vessels as part of its effort to reduce fuel consumption and minimise environmental impact.
In close collaboration with technology company Hitachi, an AI model is being developed that will help predict the most fuel-efficient way to operate a certain vessel on a specific route. The model will support the captain and officers on board and if successful, will make an important contribution to Stena Line’s sustainability target to reduce fuel consumption by 2.5% annually.
“The model simulates many different scenarios before suggesting the most optimal route and performance setup. With the help of AI we are able to consider a number of variables, such as currents, weather conditions, shallow water and speed through water, in various combinations which would be impossible to do manually”, said Stena Line head of AI Lars Carlsson.
The model is still under development, with the first pilot study taking place on Stena Scandinavica, supervised by senior master Jan Sjöström who has been working with fuel optimisation at Stena Line for the last 40 years.
“…We’ve been making adjustments to the model after each trip for about four weeks and it is amazing to see how quickly it is learning”, said Mr Sjöström.
The goal is to create a model that is “so precise that it would be the ultimate decision support system for the captain when planning each trip”, explained a statement. Moving forward, the model will also help share competence and knowledge to the next generation of captains and officers.
“Planning a trip and handling a vessel in a safe and, at the same time, fuel-efficient way is craftsmanship. Practice makes perfect, but when assisted by AI a new captain or officer could learn how to fuel optimise quicker. In return, this contributes to a more sustainable journey”, said Mr Sjöström.
Stena Line aims for the whole company to be assisted by AI in 2021 and the pilot study on Stena Scandinavica, on the Gothenburg–Kiel route, is the first of several studies regarding AI-assisted ferry trips within the fleet this year. At the end of the year there will be an evaluation of the project, before deciding how to continue with AI-assistance on the company’s 38 ships.
“…By taking a co-creation approach, working together to combine industry expertise with data and AI, Hitachi and Stena Line have been able to show how digitalisation can optimise existing physical assets to create a better outcome”, said Hitachi Europe chief digital officer Ram Ramachander.
Stena Line is already being assisted by AI within several areas such as administration, finance, customer experience and customer care.