Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has begun a joint research project with Japanese technology company JRCS to explore the potential application of AI-based object recognition technology, with the aim of supporting vessel watchkeeping and improving situational awareness while underway.
The two firms will examine the potential benefits of using JRCS’s AI-based object recognition technology, incorporating camera imaging for computer-based identification of objects such as fishing boats, buoys, debris, and other items that cannot be detected by currently available nautical instruments such as radar.
The project will install JRCS’ ‘infoceanus command’ system on board an MOL vessel to verify its technical capabilities in recognising objects at sea and its effectiveness in supporting ship operations while underway.
In this verification test, the companies also aim to confirm the equipment’s effectiveness during night-time operations and in low-visibility environments, particularly in situations that are stressful for seafarers.
The technology will help the crew to estimate other vessels’ positions, travel directions and speeds, as well as the distance between those objects and their own vessel, with the ultimate goal of creating a digital system capable of understanding the external environment during autonomous sailing.