Navigating with AI and Big Data

Sea traffic is expected to grow with rising volume of trade and e-Commerce activities. At the same time, larger and faster vessels will be sailing through increasingly congested waterways and ports. As one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore strives to become the world-leading smart port through continuous development of knowledge-based port services and maritime-related expertise.

Considering the volatile changes and complexity of sea traffic and port operation activities, there is a need to develop innovative solutions for better optimisation of complex port and vessel traffic systems, in order to enhance safety and efficiency of maritime operations. Unlike air and land traffic that is regulated by strict traffic rules, sea traffic is not as regulated and usually left to the decisions of ship captains. Hence, the problem is complex in that it involves decision making by multiple vessels together with the maritime authority.

The Urban Computing and Engineering Centre of Excellence, a private-public partnership by Singapore Management University, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited, and the Institute of High Performance Computing at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), collaborated to develop a solution to this challenge.

The solution, a decision support tool developed over three years, uses multi-agent technology, reinforcement learning, intelligent scheduling, and pathfinding to derive time schedules and routes of vessels in order for the vessels to avoid getting into situations of congestion and hotspots. By facilitating risk analytics, hotspot prediction, and intelligent coordination of vessels, the solution allows maritime authority to better management of maritime traffic, reduce risk of incidents, and enable vessels to experience reduced congestion and safer navigation through a congested waterway and port, thereby enhancing the competitive edge of a port in a large city.

The technology can be integrated into next generation e-Navigation systems used by maritime authorities worldwide.

In an interview with Singapore Nautilus, a corporate magazine produced by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Professor Lau Hoong Chuin, Director of the Fujitsu-SMU Urban Computing and Engineering (UNiCEN) Corp. Lab, shared about the genesis of the project, its benefits, and SMU’s future plans.

To read the article, please visit: Singapore Nautilus, issue 46, pg 18-19.

Article source: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore