Rotterdam, 30 October 2018 – VSTEP has recently partnered with Dutch based start-up Captain AI to be a part of the future of autonomous shipping. With this investment in Captain AI, VSTEP will position itself on the forefront of this new disruptive industry and continue to push for innovative solutions.
Braving the waters of a disruptive industry
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates total seaborne trade at roughly 10.6 billion tons and growing at an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent between now at 2022. Trade is at an all time high and the future of shipping looks bright. Despite this, both internal and external forces can affect the maritime sector. Factors such as oil prices, economic downturns and a range of other threats can plague the industry, prompting companies that wish to remain competitive within the markets to look for innovative answers. New emerging technologies such as autonomous shipping will be the solution to these threats.
Autonomous shipping is predicted to be an extremely disruptive element in maritime transport due to its many effects within the industry. Benefits include reducing human error and crew costs, increasing the safety of life on-board, enabling more efficient use of fuel and changing ship design to accommodate more cargo space. Crew quarters and equipment that support personnel would be removed, which would lead to an increased space for cargo and potentially higher revenues. Automated ships will be the next generation of vessels that sail across the oceans.
Captain AI co-founder and CEO Vincent Wegener further explained the urge of this new technology; “Autonomous shipping will revolutionize the shipping and port related industries. Currently more than 75% of marine casualties are due to human error and autonomous shipping will significantly reduce these errors. Additionally, the economics of autonomous shipping are clear; the crew makes up 10% to 30% of the total shipping costs. Reducing these costs will make the shipping industry more efficient. Captain AI will work closely together with the VSTEP to make safe and efficient autonomous shipping a reality.”
A bright future ahead
“The approach of Captain AI is one we wanted to follow,” commented VSTEP Technical Director Steve Claes. “Captain AI is pioneering an autonomous shipping solution based on state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms. By using our cutting edge NAUTIS simulation software, we can assist Captain AI in validating their latest AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms. Our NAUTIS system has many weather conditions and technical capabilities, making it possible to train AI in the most effective way possible.”
VSTEP will be investing in Captain AI together with POST&CO, an international maritime & logistics insurance company. With this participation VSTEP is prepared for its role in the autonomous shipping transition and future of the maritime industry. “This is in line with a trend within VSTEP to strive towards the most effective innovative solutions. One of our goals is to make the world a better and safer place and this investment perfectly embodies this. By using the latest AI algorithms, such as deep reinforcement learning, it is possible to achieve such technological advancements,” mentioned Henk van den Berg, Managing Director at VSTEP.