This article explores the use of artificial intelligence in the maritime sector, covering topics such as the benefits of AI, current AI applications, and potential future opportunities. In 2022 the maritime industry spent about $931 million on artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, according to a report by Lloyd’s Register and Thetius.
What Are the Benefits of AI in the Maritime Sector?
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the maritime sector offers many potential benefits. There are four main areas where we can apply AI:
- Digital transformation.
- Application of big data from Automatic Identification System (AIS)
- Energy efficiency (not only in shipping but also in energy generation, ports, etc.).
- Predictive analytics, which can include risk assessment, maintenance or market analysis.
AI can provide improved safety, efficiency, and cost savings for all stakeholders in the maritime industry. AI can be used to detect and identify objects, such as ships and buoys, in the water. AI can also be used to improve navigation and route planning, as well as to monitor vessel performance and reduce emissions. AI can also detect and respond to potential hazards, improving safety and reducing the risk of accidents. AI can also be used to streamline operations, improving efficiency and cost savings.
What Are the Current AI Applications in the Maritime Sector?
In the maritime sector, AI is being used in a variety of ways: some companies are using AI to plan the shipment of containers: the input is port calls data like destination, arrival time or trip duration and this helps shipping companies to manage their trips most efficiently. Apart from that, AI can help with the positioning of containers inside containerships, and finding the best way to use the available space on board. Nexocode’s series of AI in logistics gives plenty of examples of uses.
AI is being used to improve vessel navigation and route planning, as well as to detect and identify objects in the water. AI is also being used to monitor vessel performance and reduce emissions. Additionally, AI is being used to detect and respond to potential hazards, improving safety and reducing the risk of accidents.
Also, some operations have to be done underwater (oil rigs, ships’ inspections or maintenance, cable laying, offshore wind farms, etc.). AI and robots allow safer operation and may encourage submarine research and clean the ocean.
AI can also be used to create innovation ecosystems in the maritime sector.
What are the obstacles to the implementation of AI in the maritime sector?
The maritime sector tends to be traditional and, due to the huge investment it’s usually needed to implement new technologies, adverse to change, but there are five key obstacles in the shipping sector according to the APC report:
- Poor Quality of Data, mainly to the lack of shared data due to trust issues.
- Lack of “Solid Information”: we need proper and consistent data collection.
- Fear of Job Replacement.
- Transforming the Business Through Digitalization will be a Process
- Lack of a Clear Strategy
If we overcome these obstacles, the maritime sector could get:
- Advanced analytics.
- Automated equipment.
- Safety and improved security.
- Operation optimization.
- Performance forecasting.
Of course, all of this would need a legal framework in which the stakeholders can work.
What Are the Potential Future Opportunities for AI in the Maritime Sector?
The potential for AI in the maritime sector is vast. AI can be used to improve navigation, route planning, and vessel performance. AI can be used to detect and identify objects in the water, as well as detect and respond to potential hazards. AI can also be used to streamline operations, improving efficiency and cost savings. Additionally, AI can be used to improve safety and reduce the risk of accidents. AI can also be used to reduce emissions and protect the environment.