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Microsoft Invests in Vessel-Efficiency Startup Nautilus Labs

file image container ship
File image

Published Mar 16, 2022 7:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

Microsoft has signaled commitment to the blue-tech boom by helping to lead a $34 million funding round for Nautilus Labs, a tech firm that leverages AI to boost vessel efficiency. 

This round brings Nautilus’s total raised capital since its inception to more than $48 million. The company will use the proceeds to develop new efficiency-boosting products, recruit new tech talent, and open and expand new offices in key shipping hubs. 

Nautilus' products aim at optimizing fuel economy and return on investment per voyage, reducing emissions in the process. This includes software-driven decision support and collaboration tools to maximize time charter equivalent (TCE) profits for each vessel, factoring in restrictions in the charter as well as future charter opportunities. 

Nautilus partners with several prominent companies, including TotalEnergies, Eastern Pacific Shipping and Emirates Shipping Line. In one example of a trial for Eastern Pacific Shipping, the platform saved $43,000 in fuel costs and improved TCE by four percent, according to EPS.

Nautilus also offers tools to spot drop-offs in vessel performance, like added drag due to fouling, and predicts when maintenance will be required using machine learning.

"The firms winning in the market are mobilizing resources now to adopt a collaborative, data-driven approach to transforming their voyages. By focusing on the underlying economics, they’re stripping wasted fuel and time out of their operations,” said Matt Heider, CEO of Nautilus Labs. “The potential for Voyage Optimization is huge: our clients have seen 10-12 percent savings per journey, with overall savings potential reaching up to 30 percent."