Orca AI, a marine technology company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has signed a worldwide distribution agreement with Marubeni, one of Japan’s largest import and export corporations and a provider of ship services.
The Japanese conglomerate will also install the Orca AI platform on its vessels, providing use-case insights that the Israeli firm can leverage to further enhance the technology.
Orca AI’s SeaPod™ lookout unit acts as a fully automatic digital watchkeeper, powered by high-sensitivity computer vision and deep-learning algorithms that detect, track, and classify nearby targets that could potentially pose a risk to the vessel. It helps to enhance situational awareness for bridge crews during challenging navigational scenarios such as congested waterways and low-visibility conditions.
Orca AI’s technology, which is operational 24/7, prioritises risks at sea and presents them via a user-friendly interface onboard. The platform provides real-time monitoring capabilities to the fleet operations teams and actionable insights to improve safety, operations efficiency and performance.
To date, Orca AI has accumulated more than 20 million nautical miles-worth of marine visual data from its customers, including NYK, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), and Maran Group.
Gross adds that Orca AI’s automated watchkeeping capabilities can be particularly helpful for Japanese ship owners and operators in view of the ongoing shortage of skilled seafarers amid a fast-aging population and the reluctance of younger generations to pursue demanding careers at sea.
In 2022, Orca AI and NYK Group completed a successful autonomous voyage trial in congested waters off Japan’s east coast through the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ships (DFFAS) consortium, which includes 30 Japanese firms.