Google sets sights on autonomous shipping

04 Oct 2017
Rolls-Royce and Google are to collaborate on developing artificial intelligence solutions needed for autonomous shipping

Rolls-Royce and Google are to collaborate on developing artificial intelligence solutions needed for autonomous shipping

Search engine and technology pioneer Google is to bring its artificial intelligence (AI) expertise to bear on the drive towards autonomous ships under a new partnership with Rolls-Royce.

The agreement, signed at the recent Google Cloud Summit in Sweden, allows Rolls-Royce to use Google’s Cloud Machine Learning Engine to further train the company’s AI-based object classification system for detecting, identifying and tracking the objects a vessel can encounter at sea.

“While intelligent awareness systems will help to facilitate an autonomous future, they can benefit maritime businesses right now making vessels and their crews safer and more efficient,” said Karno Tenovuo, senior vice president ship intelligence, Rolls-Royce. “By working with Google Cloud we can make these systems better faster, saving lives.”

Eva Fors, head of Google Cloud Sales Nordics, added: “By exploring the possibilities presented by machine learning, Rolls-Royce can combine the latest technology advancements with its deep knowledge of the maritime industry, ultimately bringing significant improvements to the sector.”

Rolls-Royce will use Google Cloud’s software to create bespoke machine learning models which can interpret large marine data sets. Rolls-Royce will prepare the data to train models, ensuring that it is relevant and in sufficient quantity to create statistical significance. The models’ predictions will be evaluated in practical marine applications, allowing them to be further refined.

The partners believe that intelligent awareness systems will make vessels safer, easier and more efficient to operate, providing crew with an enhanced understanding of their vessel’s surroundings. This will involve fusing data from a range of sensors with information from existing ship systems, such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) and radar.