Artificial intelligence ‘Mayday’ system begins Swedish trials

A new artificial intelligence system to monitor ‘Mayday’ calls in the Baltic Sea and around the Swedish coast has begun live testing, to examine how the technology can provide assistance to sea and air rescue leaders by identifying the information relayed during emergency calls.

The tests are taking place within the framework of the Heimdall Innovation Project, which aims to develop functional AI technology to support interception and interpretation of incoming emergency calls for presentation to operators.

The concept was developed by Tobias Nicander, a rescue leader at the Swedish Maritime Administration’s sea and air traffic rescue coordination centre, to combat work-induced stress and improve the technical support available to operators.

“It feels tremendously satisfying that we can now conduct live tests using real emergency calls; I see great potential for the application. In sea and air rescue, it is a major advantage to gain technical support as a complement to the human ear,” said Mr Nicander.

The Swedish Maritime Administration’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Gothenburg, Sweden, provides assistance to those in distress at sea. Identification of the circumstances of emergency situations depends on the operator’s ability to decipher the details of individual calls that are often made via radio with low audibility.

During the current trial stage of the AI project, the Heimdall system will be tested on emergency calls to further calibrate and improve the technology’s capabilities.

Swedish company Tenfifty is responsible for the technical AI input on the project, with Maranics building the user interfaces and creating the data capture modules to supplement the speech-to-text inputs with data such as weather, ship information and position.

“This is a perfect example of how to create a reliable AI service where man and machine work together. Technology designed to convert speech to text using neural networks has made immense strides in recent years and it is extremely pleasing to be able to use technology for social benefit,” said David Fendrich, CTO at Tenfifty.

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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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