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A superyacht optimized with artificial intelligence in every system

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A superyacht optimized with artificial intelligence in every system
A superyacht optimized with artificial intelligence in every system

Recent world events have us all thinking differently. When there’s a need for a drastic change in how we do things, how do we in the superyacht industry adapt to carry out work with as much proficiency as possible? 

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A new artificial intelligence concept which DLBA Naval Architects has been working on for some months not only means smarter operation onboard yachts, it means some systems can be operated with the human element removed when need be.

DLBA has selected a 58m superyacht concept to develop internally as an autonomous yacht. The result, TEMPO, will be a study in all vessel systems where artificial intelligence can be used to enhance an owner’s experience onboard. There are three main areas where autonomous technology can be used in the maritime world - navigational autonomy, equipment health monitoring, and mechanical and electrical systems automation. All reduce the need for human input while increasing efficiency.

Navigation autonomy relieves the workload on the vessel operator, and unmanned vessels have been operating in the commercial and military space for years. Hull, mechanical and electrical automation is like having an onboard engineering team at your fingertips. By ensuring elements at the sub-system level are AI-ready, the vessel can be kept operating at peak performance, efficiently. The number and complexity of auxiliary systems and equipment onboard yachts is increasing year-on-year, and with that comes the increasing demand on crews’ time to interpret feedback from the systems - equipment health monitoring lessens this demand on crew time.

For more information, please read the official press release here:

A superyacht optimized with artificial intelligence in every system

With the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), the potential for impressive and boundary-pushing progress across all aspects in yachting is at our fingertips. Advancements in automation of vessel machinery, electrical, and navigation systems has an immense potential to improve the yachting experience for all owners. With the immense potential for revolution comes the need for extensive design, engineering, and testing. DLBA Naval Architects is developing a 58m concept superyacht, which thinks through all vessel systems to see where artificial intelligence can take the superyacht experience to the next level. Within DLBA Naval Architects’ Virginia offices, a concept is underway which could change the trajectory of yachting.

DLBA has selected a 58m superyacht concept to develop internally as an autonomous yacht. The result, TEMPO, will be a study in all vessel systems where artificial intelligence can be used to enhance an owner’s experience onboard. The name of the concept is tied to the uptick in operational tempo that the AI will make possible through enhanced reliability and operational availability, meaning that owners and guest will be able to spend more quality time onboard enjoying all that yachting can offer.

There are three main areas where autonomous technology can be brought to bear in the maritime world - navigational autonomy, equipment health monitoring, and mechanical and electrical systems automation. DLBA’s vision is to deliver best-in-class autonomous vessels as the industry-leading vessel designer and autonomy integrator, and it’s expected that, through this process, questions which are already being raised on autonomy will be answered to move this field forward.

Taken alone, any of the three branches of navigation autonomy, equipment health monitoring, and mechanical and electrical system automation can have a profound effect on the operation of a yacht; when designed into the vessel from its conception, that effect can be groundbreaking with respect to maximizing availability and minimizing operational and maintenance costs.

The company’s prior experience with autonomous vessel research and development programs means it’s well-placed to understand the challenges and limitations of this field and has seen it partner with traditional and non-traditional technology providers to push automation for the best
results.

This allows the company agility as it integrates continually-evolving autonomous technology into the concept yacht, the exterior design of which was provided by SDG; and it’s looking forward to working with visionary vessel owners seeking to benefit from autonomy themselves.

Navigation Autonomy
Navigation autonomy relieves the workload on the vessel operator, and unmanned vessels have been operating in the commercial and military space for years. Autonomous navigation systems create an electronic world model, fusing data from onboard sensors, and information sources like GPS, radar, AIS, electronic charts, weather information systems and video cameras to safely navigate both highly-congested areas and open seas.

The operator is left to maintain a presence while the autonomous navigation system guides the vessel. The reduced level of focus required in this area results in higher situational awareness. The benefits to this include a reduced risk of collision and grounding, avoidance of heavy weather, optimization of fuel consumption and lower operator workload.

Mechanical and Electrical System Automation
Mechanical and electrical system automation is like having an onboard engineering team at your fingertips. By ensuring elements at the sub-system level are AI-ready, the vessel can be kept operating at peak performance, without any additional workload for the onboard engineering team. Think changes of valve orientation, turning on and off electrical equipment breakers, starting and stopping pumps, or addressing system faults when they occur; all carried out automatically based on the single push of a button. The result is less work for the engineering team and greater reliability of the vessel; and that means more hours of use for the owner.

Capturing and monitoring the data in real time provides advanced diagnostics and prognostics of onboard systems and equipment through the use of sensors and data collection. Trending and machine learning can then be used to provide real time feedback onboard the vessel for almost all systems, which can then be used to identify almost all potential faults in advance - allowing for correction before they occur and maximizing the owner’s use and enjoyment of the vessel.

Cybersecurity
Considering the risks associated with advanced electronic communication and control systems, the vessel is being develop with integrated cybersecurity. Communication channels and mission critical information needs to be encrypted and protected against both malicious and unintentional adverse impact of misconfiguration and data compromises. Hardware and software for autonomy is assessed for vulnerabilities and hardened against potential intrusion attempts.

Unmanned and autonomous solution’s dependence on accurate and timely communication makes cyber resiliency in an autonomous solution a prime security objective. Convergence of information and operational technology, including ICS components, on autonomous vessels highlight the importance of data integrity and system availability. A comprehensive and a holistic cybersecurity approach addresses these concerns.

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