Maersk to Trial AI-Integration on Container Vessels


Maersk has signed a contract with Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics to trial an innovative AI-powered situational awareness system on a container ship.

The system will be trialled on Maersk’s newly built ice-class container ships, utilizing cutting-edge Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and perception software.

The solution provided by Sea Machines Robotics is similar in function to Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), commonly installed in automobiles to alert drivers of upcoming hazards and help prevent accidents.

Advanced sensors are utilized to collect a continuous stream of situational and environmental data, and an AI system then analyses the data and displays it in the wheelhouse — helping the crew identify and track potential risks and conflicts.

The two parties hope that these innovations will help improve at-sea situational awareness, object identification and tracking capabilities — allowing for safer and more efficient maritime operations.


The Volga Maersk. Picture courtesy of A.P. Moller-Maersk


Read the “Big Data in the Maritime Industry” for a discussion of the opportunities big data has to offer

Founder and CEO of Sea Machines, Michael Johnson, said: “We are extremely proud that the world’s largest shipping company selected Sea Machines as their advanced perception and autonomous technology provider.

“This partnership with Maersk marks our first foray into the shipping sector and allows us to positively contribute towards the operator’s technology goals.

“Our mission is to propel the maritime industry forward with 21st-century technology and it’s exciting to see the growing demand for Sea Machines products.”

Senior innovation manager at A.P. Moller-Maersk, P. Michael A. Rodey, commented: “Our team first met Sea Machines around three years ago when they were developing the concepts of their first autonomous systems, and already we were impressed with their technical capability, planned product path, and practical understanding of the future needs of the marine market.”

“For this containership situational awareness program, we aim to prove the technology increases our safety, efficiency, and reliability. Autonomous vessels are not an end goal for Maersk nor is unmanned vessels, what is more of interest is the technology along the journey and the value it brings.”

Sea Machines were founded in Boston in 2015 and introduced the world’s first industrial-grade control system for autonomous and remote control workboats and commercial marine vessels.

Read more: Maersk Partners to Tackle $1 Trillion Food Waste Problem

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