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AI-powered THESIS applications launched by Transas

Frank Coles, Transas CEO Frank Coles, Transas CEO

Transas has launched the first package of applications built on its Cloud-based maritime operations management platform THESIS, incorporating machine learning technologies with the aim of reducing the potential for human error on the bridge or substandard decision support from shore.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The ‘A-Suite’ software package is designed to be used by vessel crews as well as personnel managing VTS systems and shore-based fleet operational centres, allowing them to participate in real-time decision support and post-voyage analysis.

The technology infrastructure created by THESIS is also expected to benefit training facilities, by providing greater access to data and insight on actual ship operations as they occurred.

“Technology shouldn’t be an end in itself – but a tool to achieve an end,” said Transas CEO Frank Coles.

“We want to help the industry improve by enabling it to make better decisions and boost competitive advantage, using machine intelligence to augment the human in the loop.”

“We are especially proud to go beyond the hype by bringing to market a set of revolutionary AI-powered e-navigation tools apposite to the needs of modern ships operating in an increasingly automated and digital world.”

Machine learning technologies will be applied in an effort to de-risk vessel operations, through the use of algorithms designed to detect and report anomalies in the behaviour of the human operator, wherever they are in the operational chain.

The first version of the package comprises three core modules – Advanced Intelligent Manoeuvring (AIM), Advanced Intelligent Diagnostics (AID) and Advanced Intelligent Routing (AIR) – and is currently being made available to end-users. Services will become fully operational over the coming months, Transas says.

AIM is a track prediction system and anti-collision support tool that leverages data previously collected on the actions and behaviour of personnel sailing in that specific location, together with a hydrodynamic model of the vessel and programmatic incorporation of the collision regulations.

AID is primarily intended to monitor anomalies, both in real-time or during post-voyage analysis, by detecting excessive or unusual manoeuvring patterns in relation to parameters such as speed and rate of turn, as well as unexpected deviations in fuel consumption. The system pulls data from conventional equipment and environmental sensors, and also records how and when operators interact with vessel controls.

AIR is used for voyage planning and optimisation, incorporating real time metocean data, hazard data and a vessel’s hydrodynamic performance to calculate expected outcomes, while also allowing for the impact of known and anticipated vessel traffic along the route.

The three core modules will be supported by Transas’ additional Advanced Data Delivery (ADD) and Advanced Remote Maintenance (ARM) systems.

ADD manages updating of special electronic charts (SENCs), weather data, and other navigational safety notices, while creating an audit trail for compliance purposes. ARM provides remote diagnostics and performance analytics for bridge and satellite communications equipment, backing up key software together with its configuration data and parameters to the Transas Cloud to support service restoration in the event of a system failure.

For training support, A-Suite also features an e-learning package, Advanced Remote Training for Seafarers (ARTS), with online access to manufacturer-approved, type-specific training courses for Transas ECDIS.

Being Cloud-based, all A-Suite applications can be accessed from ship or shore, though Transas notes that ship-based installations will contain an onboard pre-processing data management server, so that the applications and decision support functions can continue to operate without a live connection to the Cloud in the event of a communications outage. Encrypted channels are used for all data delivery within the ecosystem to bolster resilience to cyber-attack, rather than relying on conventional e-mail.

The applications have all been built using the same software kernel that powers Transas ECDIS systems, which the company notes has allowed it to incorporate direct access to data on all user interactions and the operation of various sensors on the bridge in real time.

“When we first started to envisage how ships would be operated in the future, we realised there would be much greater collaboration between ships, back-offices, traffic control centres, etc. With A-Suite we set out to build a set of intelligent decision support tools for working in this shared environment,” said Mr Coles.

“In contrast to many standalone solutions on the market today, A-Suite pulls together a wider selection of data from a broader range of input sources. Combined with machine learning techniques, this results in a deeper level of insight and guidance that is more reflective of a vessel’s actual situation.”{/mprestriction}

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