Rolls-Royce and Intel to Develop AI-Powered Autonomous Shipping Systems

autonomous shipping
Image credit: Intel

Rolls-Royce has announced it has partnered with tech giant Intel to develop AI-powered shipping systems with the goal of fully-autonomous navigation and ship operations.

The systems will involve installing ships with dedicated Intel Xeon Scalable processor-based servers and 3D NAND SSDs for data storage, effectively turning ships into “cutting-edge floating data centers with heavy computation and AI inference capabilities,” says to Intel.

The ultimate goal is to make commercial shipping safer and more efficient through reducing human error by equipping crews with critical real-time information and automating routine tasks and processes,

“We’re delighted to sign this agreement with Intel, and look forward to working together on developing exciting new technologies and products, which will play a big part in enabling the safe operation of autonomous ships,” said Kevin Daffey, Rolls-Royce, Director, Engineering & Technology and Ship Intelligence. “This collaboration can help us to support ship owners in the automation of their navigation and operations, reducing the opportunity for human error and allowing crews to focus on more valuable tasks.”

The partnership with Intel builds on Rolls-Royce’s Intelligent Awareness System (IA), which uses AI-powered sensor fusion and decision-making by processing data from lidar, radar, thermal cameras, HD cameras, satellite data and weather forecasts. Data collected by the vessels will be stored using Intel 3D NAND SSDs, acting as a “black box,” securing the information for training and analysis once the ship is docked.

“The new shipping intelligence systems will have data centre and artificial intelligence capabilities as well as sophisticated edge computing throughout that independently manage navigation, obstacle detection and communications,” said Rolls-Royce.

“Delivering these systems is all about processing – moving and storing huge volumes of data – and that is where Intel comes in. Rolls-Royce is a key driver of innovation in the shipping industry, and together we are creating the foundation for safe shipping operations around the world,” says Lisa Spelman, vice president and general manager, Intel Xeon Processors and Data Center Marketing in the Data Center Group at Intel.