Ferry operator Stena Line has commenced a pilot study in which an AI model will be used to predict the most fuel-efficient way to run a vessel on a specific route.
The model, created in collaboration with tech firm Hitachi, will be trialled by the captain and officers aboard Stena’s Scandinavica cruise ferry. The aim of the project is to create a model so precise that it could act as the definitive decision support tool for a captain planning a trip.
Scandinavica’s crew has been making adjustments to the model after each of its trips between Kiel and Gothenburg in the past four weeks. In future, the company believes the AI will help in sharing competence and knowledge with the next generation of captains and officers.
“The model simulates many different scenarios before suggesting the most optimal route and performance setup,” explains Lars Carlsson, head of AI at Stena Line. “With the help of AI we are able to consider a number of variables, such as currents, weather conditions, shallow water and speed through water, in various combinations which would be impossible to do manually.”
Stena Line hopes to have all of its operations assisted by AI in 2021, and the pilot on Stena Scandinavica is the first of several AI studies the company will undertake within its fleet this year.
“Planning a trip and handling a vessel in a safe and, at the same time, fuel efficient way is craftsmanship,” says Jan Sjöström, senior master at Stena Scandinavica. “Practice makes perfect, but when assisted by AI a new captain or officer could learn how to fuel optimise quicker. In return, this contributes to a more sustainable journey.”