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Navtor, WNI to work towards AI routing service

Global e-navigation leader Navtor will work with Weathernews Inc (WNI), the world's largest private weather service company, to boost its NavStation route planning software while ultimately working with the Japanese-headquartered firm to potentially develop the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) routing service.

The collaboration agreement will initially see Navtor significantly upgrading its weather information offering within its NavStation software system, delivering a more comprehensive service to users. WNI will provide enhanced resolution weather data for Navtor, with the addition of new types of weather information – covering areas such as tropical cyclones and weather fronts.

This will be followed by the integration of WNI’s Shipping Weather Service Fleet Management platform into NavStation. This offers a host of benefits including Optimum Ship Routing, to save fuel and reduce costs, and optimise for route safety and speed, and Fleet Monitoring, with daily analysis of ship efficiency, alongside detailed auditing capabilities.

This would then be a precursor to a new system that it claims could revolutionise route planning, efficiency and safety within the maritime industry.

“This is another significant step on our journey to offer a fully integrated navigation solution that delivers everything navigators, ship officers and shore-based staff need on a single, intuitive and powerful platform,” said Navtor ceo Tor Svanes.

“Weather can make all the difference between profit and loss for shipowners and operators. With WNI’s expertise we can ensure we deliver the best, most comprehensive data available, allowing navigators to minimise risks and plan the safest, most cost effective and optimal routes for their individual vessels. This, along with other recent improvements to NavStation – such as the addition of our Passage Planning module – makes the platform an essential tool for enhanced decision making, with the minimum of fuss, administration and risk of human error,” he added.

WNI executive officer Hidenori Iwasa added: “Weathernews Inc is dedicated to delivering high quality, innovative solutions that address risk and provide lasting business value. Navtor is the ideal partner in this respect, with its mission to simplify tasks for navigators and increase both process and overall commercial efficiency. Together I believe we can leverage one another’s expertise to change maritime for the better. This is the beginning of an exciting journey.”

The road to AI route planning is a key part of that voyage. Navtor and WNI will work together, using their combined wealth of operational and weather data as a platform, to create the world’s first AI routing service. Details of the project remain confidential, but essentially a new software tool will be created that transforms data into detailed, reliable and optimised decision-making tools with real-time capabilities.

“Data is the most valuable ingredient for AI,” noted Svanes. “Navtor and WNI have access to enormous amounts of it from thousands of vessels operating today. It is our intention to develop a solution that learns to perceive its environment and recommend optimal actions. By doing so we will be able to support our customers with a service capable of maximising performance, efficiency and safety at all times, even when conditions are rapidly changing en route. This will be a breakthrough development for the entire industry, paving the way for a more sustainable, predictable and cost-efficient future,” he added.

Navtor will unveil the prototype of the WNI integrated NavStation at Sea Japan this week, with the official release scheduled for June this year. Details of the on-going AI development will be released at a later stage.