MOL expands partnership with Silicon Valley AI start-up

Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) reports that it has expanded its partnership with Silicon Valley shipping technology start-up Bearing to develop a range of new products built on Bearing’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology infrastructure.

Bearing was founded in 2019 with the goal of improving efficiency within the maritime industry, backed by Mitsui & Co as well as AI Fund, a team of AI entrepreneurs and venture capitalists backed by some $176 million in funding from investors including NEA, Sequoia, and Greylock.

Since that time, having conducted various trials and carried out extensive research on ship modelling, MOL and Bearing have worked to create a range of AI-powered products, including a newly announced Smart Routing Engine.

This routing engine automatically analyses multiple potential routes for a given voyage and recommends an efficient routing plan based on optimal main engine output and propeller RPM profiles.

At the core of Bearing’s technology are ship performance models built from of a diverse set of real-world data points. These AI models include historical voyage data, such as vessel speed, trim, main engine operation, weather and sea condition, which the partners claim can be applied to accurately predict metrics like fuel consumption without requiring the vessels’ design parameters.

“MOL, at its highest organisational levels, continuously monitors the condition of our fleet to ensure optimum operational efficiency and prudent safe navigation by combining the technologies of Bearing as well as other existing and new solutions,” the shipping company said, in a statement.

“MOL accepts its social obligation to take innovative steps to help solve environmental issues such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollution and biodiversity impediments.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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