Lloyd's Register was the world’s first marine classification society, created more than 260 years ago to improve the safety of ships. Now it's developing a register of certified artificial intelligence solutions and providers. What will this mean for marine engineers?
Its purpose is to raise awareness about AI-enabled technologies and their applications, by assessing and signposting proven and reliable providers and solutions.
We asked Luis Benito, LR Director of Innovation and Co-creation, to explain.
"I should start by saying that AI refers to engineered systems that mimic the human capacity to observe, understand and make decisions. AI is continuing to grow in deployment across maritime with applications ranging from digital twins, to virtual commissioning and autonomous navigation systems.
We really want to make sure that AI is safe and delivers a business outcome for our customers. With this register we provide safety assurance and help customers understand its purpose on a ship. We are very keen to see AI made more available to ships because it will benefit everybody – ship safety as well – and LR is passionate about the adoption of technology that is fit for purpose.
The AI register was launched on our website in November 2021 and it’s the first register of such technology for maritime. Some other industries have lists available but this is the first one for maritime users, looking at maritime applications."
Making the cut
The register builds on LR's ShipRight procedures which was created three years ago and this framework is applied to any company wishing to join the AI register. "We rely on in-house expertise drawing on our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) across the world from key locations including Canada, China, UK, Greece and Korea, wherever the stakeholders and customers are located so far, plus our core team (and software) in Southampton," says Luis Benito.
Any company that wishes to go through certification, and obtains approval, can enter into the register. LR's director of innovation lists Furuno, HAT Analytics, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and ZhenDui Industrial Artificial Intelligence (ZDIAI) as the first seven providers on the list have been through the process successfully, with independent assurances assessing each specific solution offering, including key business benefits, target applications, functions, and performance.
"Each AI provider or solution that is successfully certified is also categorised against their LR certification status, such as Digital Twin Ready, Digital Twin Approved, Digital Twin Commissioned and Digital Twin Live from LR’s ShipRight Digital Compliance framework," explains Luis Benito.
Luis Benito hopes that in a year’s time, the register will have grown three-fold. "That would be healthy," says Luis Benito, "as the rate of AI adoption in maritime is moving at a slow pace right now as creating this technology is not an easy task – but it’s certainly growing."
What else is on his radar for the year ahead? "We’re also going to be looking in more detail at virtual commissioning of ships, services for offshore, and electronic systems that will become more intelligent, and autonomous navigation of ships."
See the AI register here.