AI Partnership to Control World’s Busiest Shipping Lanes


Fujitsu, Singapore Management University (SMU), and A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), are collaborating to develop new AI and big data technologies for vessel traffic management in the Port of Singapore.

With the support of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the parties will develop predictive technologies to optimize the management of Singapore's port and the Straits of Singapore and Malacca.

As the world’s busiest sea lanes, the straits are used by around 1,000 vessels at any one time, resulting in a ship arriving or leaving Singapore once every two to three minutes.

The technologies will also be validated using real-world data to improve the forecasting of congestion and identification of potential collisions and other risk hotspots before they occur at sea.

Urban Computing and Engineering Centre of Excellence (UCE CoE), a public-private partnership consisting of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) — Singapore's lead public sector agency for research, SMU — a top university in Asia, and Fujitsu, will conduct the research and development for these new maritime technologies.

Fujitsu, a Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, will use the outcomes of the project’s research and development phase, as well as the practical knowledge and experience gained through the trials, in its future maritime solutions.


Pictured: Cargo ships at Singapore Harbour


Professor Lau Hoong Chuin, SMU's Lab Director and Lead Investigator of the UCE CoE, said: “Multi-agent technology has been used extensively in coordinating the movements of unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles.

“In this project with MPA, SMU is breaking new grounds in research by proposing a next-generation maritime traffic coordination technology that is akin to air traffic control, yet respecting major differences and constraints between air and sea navigation.

“With the advent of autonomous ships, this technology can potentially disrupt vessel traffic management to reduce human errors and improve navigational safety.”

Port Technology recently released a new paper by INTTRA on how AI can power growth for the maritime sector

To address this, the collaboration will produce short-term trajectory prediction model that accurately predicts the trajectory of a vessel using machine learning and motion physics.

A risk and hotspot calculation model will also reliably quantify the near-miss risk of a pair of vessels by integrating various risk models.

The collaboration's technology will also aim to coordinate the passage timing of vessels to reduce hotspots.

Capt. M Segar, Assistant Chief Executive (Operations), MPA, said: “As Singapore develops future capabilities that will enhance our port operations, research and innovation will remain key to the maritime industry.

“As part of the recently launched Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map, MPA is supportive of collaborations among local Institutes of Higher Learning and technology companies to explore new technologies that will raise the standards of navigational safety within the Port of Singapore.

“We look forward to further testing the research outcomes at the MPA Living Lab.”

Read more: The development of a new technology called ‘Blue 5.0.’ plans to implement analytics and machine learning to benefit shipping and predict pilotage transit durations and allow terminals to plan and allocate their resources more efficiently

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