Predictive AI from METIS enables safer, smarter sailing

By Andreas Symeonidis,
Marketing Manager, METIS Cyberspace Technology

Sailing ships safely and cost-effectively with minimal impact on the environment is a delicate balancing act that relies on quick and well-informed decisions. Raw data alone offers very little in terms of practical insights, which is where artificial intelligence comes into play.

Saving costs on fuel and environmental responsibility are entirely compatible objectives where ship efficiency is concerned and both are best served by considering the full extent of the internal and external factors at play in determining vessel performance.

Data – covering machinery performance, the ship’s physical condition, weather forecasts and charterer expectations – is increasingly key, but it must be properly harnessed to support decision-making that is always conscious of vessel safety, as well as profitability and carbon footprint.

One such solution – the METIS Cyberspace Technology, Microsoft Azure-powered platform – is already delivering some startling results in the real world. The AI-driven METIS platform combines real-time vessel-performance analysis with proactive decision support, allowing shipping companies to turn unprocessed data collected from onboard IoT (Internet of Things) devices into value-added information.

Enhancing efficiency, protecting the environment
For example, in route planning, the platform uses machine learning to analyse navigation data, extracting valuable insights on the various routes available, the weather conditions that the vessel is likely to encounter, its speed profile and fuel consumption and other such parameters. It then utilises this information to predict ‘what-if’ scenarios and propose a route that strikes the best possible balance between safety, voyage time and fuel efficiency.

One customer has reported that its use of the METIS platform has enabled a 27.5-per cent reduction in fuel consumption, with another revealing that the system’s powers of prediction has allowed it to cut voyage time by one-and-a-half days while using less fuel.

The obvious cost savings aside, shorter journeys and reduced fuel consumption clearly contribute to lower carbon emissions. Yet improving vessel efficiency is not the only way in which the METIS platform benefits the environment; it also provides actionable data on ballast water treatment, for example.

In fact, METIS issues real-time alerts that keep crew informed of machinery operations, allowing them to respond immediately. In the event of engine overloads, compression deficiencies or other such incidents, for example, the system minimises the risk of more serious malfunctions and thereby supports vessel performance and safety.

Virtual evolution
Where critical problems cannot be prevented, users can quickly diagnose and resolve them by communicating in plain English with the METIS chatbot – a sophisticated human interface based on the Microsoft Azure Bot Framework and the first such service specifically designed for the maritime industry.

With over 250 vessels currently registered to its AI platform, METIS is helping shipping companies worldwide to optimise their performance, efficiency and safety while cutting costs and emissions. By embracing this exciting, constantly evolving technology, these companies have opened the door to the endless opportunities that digitalisation has to offer.

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