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Israeli Startup Orca AI Offers Autonomous shipping Platform

Orca AI

Orca AI co-founders (company pic)

Orca AI is an Israeli startup that offers an AI-based operational platform for autonomous shipping. The company raised $23 million in new funding, led by OCV Partners and Mizmaa Ventures, taking its total raised to nearly $40 million.

Autonomous shipping refers to vessels that can operate with little or no human interaction. Semi-autonomous ships (SAS) have some automated systems for tasks like navigation and collision avoidance, but still require a crew on board to handle complex situations. Remotely controlled ships (RCS) are controlled by operators on land, similar to drones but on a much larger scale. There might still be a small crew for maintenance or emergencies. Fully autonomous ships (FAS) are the ultimate goal, with no crew onboard. The entire operation is handled by AI and automation systems.

The technology behind autonomous shipping is rapidly developing, with companies like Rolls-Royce and Kongsberg Maritime heavily involved.

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Despite over 2,500 major maritime accidents in 2023, Orca AI improved safety for major shipping companies like MSC, NYK, Maersk, and Seaspan. Their technology reduced close encounters by 33% and crossing incidents by 40% across an impressive 15 million nautical miles traveled.

Founded in 2018 by naval technology experts, Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, Orca AI drives “smarter, data-driven decisions” with its AI-powered, real-time navigation safety platform. Orca AI enhances situational awareness of crews onboard, reduces sensory information overload and enables better navigation decisions. Data received from the ships is displayed on a dashboard in the office, giving fleet managers and ships owners visibility and actionable insights at both the ship and fleet levels, which enhance fleets’ safety and reduce potential safety events.

Their system spots high-risk obstacles and alerts crews, allowing for optimized routes with fewer sudden maneuvers and speed changes. This translates to fuel savings and reduced emissions. In 2023, Orca AI’s technology led to an average fuel cost reduction of $100,000 to $300,000 per vessel per year (a 3-5% improvement) and a significant CO2 reduction of 172,716 tonnes.

The system has been installed on hundreds of merchant ships, including MSC, Seaspan, Maran Tankers/Angelicoussis Group, TMS Cardiff Gas, ENESEL and Latsco.

“Ships deal with increasingly congested waterways, severe weather, and low-visibility conditions creating difficult navigation experiences with often expensive cargo,” said Orca AI CEO Yarden Gross. We’ve recently proven forward-thinking companies that adopt our technology have seen huge operational improvements from year to year, in creating a safer and more efficient shipping industry. These Improvements are crucial for shipping companies in meeting corporate sustainability targets, but importantly the benefits are far-reaching beyond just the customers.”

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