At present, with growing technology, everything is becoming automated right from mobile phones to spaceships. Realising the power of technology, lots of companies including Tesla, Google and Apple are investing in developing autonomous cars.
Following the cue, maritime innovators joined the bandwagon in a race to build autonomous ferry boats and ships that can steer themselves from canals in Amsterdam to oceans. One such company is Xomnia, a Big Data company based out of Amsterdam.
Xomnia‘s self-driving boat is a project based on Artificial Intelligence(AI) with a minimal budget, five cameras and a deep learning application
How did it start?
Back in 2016, Xomnia purchased an old lifeboat in which they used to drive through the canals of Amsterdam during summer. Since canals tend to get crowded during summer, Pieter Boon, a partner at Xomnia, came up with the idea to make the boat self-driving.
According to Pieter, ‘Paul van Hagen, deep learning fanatic, was seeking a new challenge and soon the idea of the self-driving boat was converted into a project. Whereas other autonomous vehicle projects often invest millions and are based on robotics, it was our challenge to get the boat self-driving based on artificial intelligence with a limited budget.”
AI navigates the boat!
According to Paul van Hagen, Data-Engineer, Xomnia, the self-driving boat is equipped with five cameras that act as an eye/vision. The images that enter the computer are directly passed into the deep learning network that acts like a brain.
In this case, the boat handles based on the gained experience and the collected data. As it evolves gradually, the boat sails completely independently. Having said that, an emergency button is employed to take over the control of the system immediately.
Nominated for Computable Awards 2018
Back in December 2017, Xomnia deployed the first self-propelled boat on the Amsterdam canals a year after coming up with the idea. This particular project by Xomnia company has been nominated by the jury for the Computable Awards 2018 under the category Digital Innovation of the Year.
Furthermore, the company need to submit a short video based on which, the winner will be determined. The winner will be announced on October 30, 2018, during the presentation of the Computable Awards 2018. You can check out the video below.
On the whole, the self-driving boat is a significant step ahead in the shipping industry. In this case, the maritime company should solve major challenges lies ahead to move forward. For example, unmanned ships are vulnerable to piracy or theft through remote hacking.
For more updates, stay tuned to Silicon Canals.