Stena Line Trialing AI for Fuel Efficiency

Credit: Stena Line

Published Sep 10, 2018 4:32 AM by The Maritime Executive

Stena Line is running a pilot study of artificial intelligence (AI) technology on board one of its ferries. 

With technology company Hitachi, an AI-model is being developed that will help predict the most fuel-efficient way to operate a particular vessel on a specific route. If successful it will make an important contribution to Stena Line’s sustainability target to reduce fuel consumption by 2.5 percent annually.  

The model simulates many different scenarios before suggesting the most optimal route and performance setup. With the help of AI, it considers a number of variables, such as currents, weather conditions, shallow water and speed through water, in various combinations which would be impossible to do manually.

The model is still under development, and the first pilot study is taking place on Stena Scandinavica, under the supervision of Senior Master Jan Sjöström who has been working with fuel optimization at Stena Line for the last 40 years. 

The goal is to create a model that is so precise that it would be the ultimate decision support system for the captain when planning each trip. For example, if AI could assist with accurate predictions of currents, which is one of the most complicated variables today, it would help even the most experienced captain or officer, says Stena Line. Moving forward, the model will also help sharing competence and knowledge to the next generation of captains and officers. 

“Planning a trip and handling a vessel in a safe and, at the same time, fuel efficient way is craftsmanship. Practice makes perfect, but when assisted by AI a new captain or officer could learn how to fuel optimize quicker. In return, this contributes to a more sustainable journey,” says Sjöström. 

Stena Line has an overall goal that the whole company should be assisted by AI in 2021, and the pilot study on Stena Scandinavica, on the Gothenburg – Kiel route, is the first of several studies regarding AI-assisted ferry trips within the fleet this year. At the end of the year there will be an evaluation of the project, before deciding how to continue with AI-assistance on the company’s 38 ships. 

Stena Line is already being assisted by AI within several areas such as administration, finance, customer experience and customer care.