Last Updated on September 29, 2023
General AI or artificial intelligence is expected to become a reality by 2060. If that time comes, AI will be able to learn how to carry out new tasks that don’t have anything to do with what it currently knows.
The maritime industry is a critical aspect of today’s global economy. It’s responsible for transporting materials and goods to and from various corners of the globe. This environment is challenging and complex; even minor improvements can bring substantial benefits and changes.
Maritime businesses must invest in the best AI solutions to remain competitive and stay ahead of the game. Artificial intelligence can help maritime companies make better decisions, optimize operations, and automate tasks.
This article explores AI’s overview and future possibilities in the maritime industry.
How AI Changes the Maritime Industry
AI’s presence in the maritime industry has become increasingly imminent over the past few years. Artificial intelligence has impressive potential in the field, just like in the manufacturing industry. AI-based solutions won’t only streamline overland transport, but it is also of great help in the maritime sector.
The shipment of goods is a critical facet of the world’s economy, and the growing expectations of customers across the globe require the field to be constantly optimized. Simply put, AI changes the face of the modern maritime industry in three ways.
First, it provides partial autonomy to automatized units. Second, it evaluates and optimizes processes, and third, it forecasts future trends.
Making the most of these three unique opportunities is the best way to achieve sustainable goods and outperform the competition.
AI Uses and Applications in the Maritime Industry
The following are the current uses and applications of AI in the maritime industry:
With several deaths occurring because of container fires, a survey revealed that most containers didn’t pass inspection with one or several deficiencies. These include improperly stowed or incorrectly declared cargo. AI can help identify the containers before loading to enhance safety further.
Since the era of sail and oars, the maritime industry has come a long way. The sleek hulls of clipper ships took the place of galleons and caravels. Clippers were then replaced with windjammers with smaller crews and labor-saving brace-winches.
The steam replaced the sail, and the paddle wheels were replaced with propellers. Coal was then substituted with diesel and HFO. Cranes took over union purchases while containers ousted bags, boxes, and barrels.
Every development took the spot of its predecessor because it was safer, more cost-effective, or more efficient. AI optimization adheres to this trend. The technology helps optimize maintenance, operations, fuel, voyage planning, logistics, port calls, paperwork, and more.
These uses are expected to expand further with the continuous commercial and regulatory pressure toward better optimization.
There is no doubt that the maritime industry is one of the most hazardous work environments in the world, with the death rates of seafarers higher compared to workers ashore. High-risk tasks await seafarers and similar maritime workers, from tank inspections to oil spill cleanup, firefighting, and search and rescue operations.
AI-driven robotics can now take over these high-risk tasks, from underwater hull inspection to tank entry. Soon, this automation can help lessen the crew’s exposure to such dangers.
In the coming days, unmanned MASS may also altogether remove all the risks involved with being out at sea. These days, AI drones are already being used to inspect tanks, hulls, and holds to help save money and time.
Surveillance and Tracking
There’s no denying that surveillance and tracking have always had menacing connotations and have even been constantly misused for centuries. But there’s no denying that they have an enormous potential to be a significant step towards better security and safety.
Although procedures and regulations have already come a long way in enhancing safety, there’s no way for them to prevent all kinds of problems.
Passenger tracking during emergencies, bridge alerts when someone falls overboard, identification of illegal fishing, recognizing fatigued or stressed staff members, stopping fires the moment they start, and pinpointing vessels and pirates in distress are only some of the current AI surveillance and tracking tools that the maritime industry uses at the moment.
Future Possibilities of AI in the Maritime Industry
The maritime industry has come a long way, yet there is still more than enough room to go further. AI is already being used ashore in many ways that aren’t yet available in the maritime industry.
AI is becoming a staple in healthcare, from medical chatbots to cancer diagnosis. But despite these, it’s still unused in maritime medical care. But with the financial and regulatory pressure, it will just be a matter of time before telemedicine supported by AI will also come to use out at sea.
The master of the ship is considered the master under God by custom and law, with the legal responsibility to comply with the ever-growing body of laws, rules, conventions, regulations, and recommendations. However, they’re not lawyers.
Lawyers ashore are already using AI. Simple chatbots can assist laypeople with their legal decisions. Even if maritime is still lagging behind the industry ashore, it is an aspect ready for disruption considering the complicated legal environment that masters deal with.
Stability is crucial for ships. Before departure, officers gauge the stability according to estimated or reported cargo weights. Commercial pressure, miscalculated stability, and improperly declared weights can all result in dangerous marine accidents. Modern AI systems can allow real-time calculation of stability as they can monitor the movement of the ship to save time and improve safety.
The Bottom Line
The world has reached a future that was only a sliver of science fiction 10 years ago. While the maritime industry may still face some barriers when it comes to the use of AI, it’s expected to become a critical aspect of the field to improve ease of use and safety in the long run.