ShipIn Wins 2021 Technology Award for Breakthrough Achievements in Maritime Safety.

Why We Patented ShipIn’s Visual Fleet Management Technology

Every day, thousands of ships leave port with millions of dollars in cargo and equipment onboard. But from the time a ship leaves port until it docks at another, the communication between ship and shore is often spotty and incomplete.

There are thousands of moving parts that make up a successful voyage, but the only communication available to most shipping companies is after-the-fact Captain’s reports over shaky satellite connections.

The questions remain:

  • How smoothly did navigation go? 
  • Were scheduled repairs made on time? 
  • Were safety protocols followed? 
  • Did the cargo remain secure?

Helping shipping companies gain stronger insights into their fleets is exactly why we do what we do here at ShipIn. And it’s not just for peace of mind: A recent study estimated an economic benefit of $400,000 per vessel each year when using ShipIn’s Visual Fleet Management system. 

We believe so strongly in the value of this innovation that we filed and received a U.S. Patent 11,132,552 Bl, or “System And Method For Bandwidth Reduction And Communication Of Visual Events,” for this cutting-edge technology we call Visual Fleet Management. We’re pursuing answers to this pressing industry question in an effort to make shipping more efficient, safe, and profitable.

How ShipIn’s Technology Works

Visual Fleet Management uses visual information from ships to foster and improve the handling of cargo operations, maintenance, safety and security, and day-to-day activities. It works by pairing artificial intelligence (AI) with shipboard camera systems (CCTV) and analytics. 

With ShipIn’s newly patented Visual Fleet Management System, the AI system recognizes and processes the information from the network of cameras, summarizing activities in designated high-priority areas of the ship, such as cargo holds, the bridge, and engine rooms. 

Unlike traditional closed-circuit camera-based solutions, ShipIn uses AI to watch and process this massive, continuously-streaming amount of data onboard the ship, prioritizing exactly what information requires action, such as:

  • Real-time hazard detection
  • Digital logging of routine events and maintenance
  • Inter-fleet benchmarking

The AI system includes elements from the field of computer vision which allows computers to understand what they see. It also includes elements from machine learning and deep learning which allow computers to learn and improve their performance over time from the examples they encounter.

ShipIn’s Visual Fleet Management technology maximizes opportunities for efficient ship-to-shore communication over available satellite links, even when that coverage is spotty. In this way, ShipIn can provide nearly continuous communication and visibility from ship-to-shore into shipboard activities, shipboard behavior, and shipboard status so that a shore-based manager can review, comprehend, and synthesize such information at-a-glance:

This can be used to review daily operations or discuss recent events on the sailing commercial merchant vessel without the need to watch hours, days, or weeks of multiple channels of video. From there, ship owners, captains, and crew can take appropriate action steps to prevent further damage, initiate safety protocols, or receive updates as needed, facilitating operational efficiencies.

Why We Filed a Patent for This Technology

We’re combining some of the oldest technology known to humanity — the humble ship — with one of the most important inventions of the 21st century — artificial intelligence — to provide a better, brighter future for the shipping industry. This combination, we felt, was an innovation that merited patent protection.

Rather than requiring a crew member to actively monitor camera feeds or watch thousands of hours of data, ShipIn actively identifies key incidents and events and surfaces those findings to a dashboard available to onboard crew and shore operations for them to take action. 

This includes:

  • Improved efficiency in cargo operations: That same study surfaced inter-fleet best practices that allowed one shipping leader to bring all of its vessels up to the standards of their top performers, turning around cargo 1.5 hours faster per ship, yielding 3 extra days at sea every year, per vessel.
  • Stronger safety protocols: More than 50% of machinery-related incidents were attributable, at least in part, to a lack of compliance with basic maintenance routines. Visibility into potential hazards and real-time incidents allow for a stronger culture of safety on board.
  • Security and peace of mind: Acts of piracy, stowaways, and drug smuggling are difficult to control, but often affect a ship’s schedule and result in revenue losses to the shipowners. Identifying security issues before they happen — and having a clear record if they do — allow for peace of mind for crew and executives alike.

See How ShipIn Can Help Your Fleet

At ShipIn, we embrace innovation in order to solve pressing business challenges, and we hope that our patented technology will help your fleet become more innovative as well. ShipIn equips ship owners, operators, and seafarers with advanced digital tools for safer and more productive voyages, and enables unparalleled ship-shore collaboration, critical to delivering growth in today’s global market conditions. Learn more about how this innovative technology can help your shipping organization.

Learn more about visual fleet management

David Michael

Dr. David Michael is Chief Scientist at ShipIn.ai, the world’s first Visual Fleet Management Platform, enabling seamless ship-to-shore collaboration for maritime fleets. David has more than 25 years of experience developing and deploying Artificial Intelligence software and Computer Vision technology. He has a BS from Cornell University and an MS and Ph.D. from MIT. He lives with his wife and children in Newton, MA.

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