ABS: What is the future of cutting-edge maritime technology

The ABS recognizes the coming influx of innovations and is charting a course for the future of marine and offshore technologies with a new report, Technology Trends: Exploring the Future of Maritime Innovation.

Qhis publication offers a glimpse into the future of advanced marine and offshore technologies, outlining a vision and timeline for key technological milestones on the journey to net-zero emissions and digitalization .

Artificial Intelligence

AI-powered autonomous systems could revolutionize the operation of ships, especially on long voyages. For example, a fleet of autonomous ships can travel together in wake-reducing shapes to increase energy efficiency. Traveling in a tight formation will be possible because connected AI systems can make decisions faster than humans, thus reducing risk.

Marineized robotics can take direction from human crews and perform various hazardous tasks on ships. In extreme cases, a ship or offshore asset can be fully autonomous and fully crewed by robots that can replace parts using simulation-driven condition-based maintenance. Parts can be printed on demand using additive manufacturing machines.

Regardless of the degree to which ships and assets become autonomous, AI is likely to play an important role in increasing the digitalization of maritime assets. From staff communications to maintenance control, AI-based decision-making can be critical to wide-ranging efficiency improvements and risk reduction.

Digital Twins

GROWTH in connectivity infrastructure, sensor capabilities, cloud and edge computing power and AI systems are combining to drive the evolution of digital twins. As digital twins become more widespread and reliable, they have an ever-increasing role in maritime operations. The more variables a digital twin can create, which can be created in different areas of digitization, the clearer the picture it can get of a real-world ship or offshore asset.

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Initially, real-time monitoring will support decision-making at the human level, such as voyage optimization, fuel management, maintenance timing and decisions about remaining life. Over time, digital twin systems are expected to reach self-learning and self-awareness benchmarks that will serve as an important foundation for fully autonomous functions.

As digital twin technology evolves with improvements in connectivity, computing power and machine learning, the twin will be able to proactively search for relevant data from potential inputs, such as sensors, drones or video systems. The twin decides which inputs offer the most useful data for a given situation and continuously updates its own model. An advanced twin may also acquire sufficient knowledge to model one’s own environment and account for possible external variables during decision making.

Modeling and Simulation

While modeling and simulation offer an important step in improving engineering and design processes, the rapid simultaneous development of maritime asset connectivity, cloud computing accessibility and edge computing power represent in a leap forward beyond the design phase, bringing simulation-based decision-making to real-time situations.

Cloud technology allows modeling and simulation to be performed at greater scale, complexity and speed. When fed with operational data, the models can be fine-tuned to reflect real-life situations. Modeling and simulation in the cloud serves as a central knowledge base for creating more advanced algorithms and models, which are then pushed to tools through a reduced order model. These reduced-order models, trained with corresponding simulation models, can continuously analyze and optimize data from sensors in a system.

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Autonomous Activities

THE IMPLEMENTATION of autonomous and remote-control functions offers many benefits to the industry. Technology has the potential to improve safety by reducing human involvement in high-risk operations. Initially, autonomous technology can be used to assist with repetitive or dangerous tasks, freeing a seafarer to focus on the overall health and performance of the entire system.

As technology matures and the industry gains more operational experience, more functions and tasks can be performed autonomously. While the technology will lower operational costs related to crew numbers, it will also help attract new talent to the maritime workforce as roles shift to monitoring and controlling remote systems.

The expansion of the use of autonomous and remote control functions also has the potential to initiate a paradigm shift for ship and offshore asset design. As the roles of the human crew are changed or reduced, the designs can be optimized to allocate more spaces and resources to the main purpose and less space to the human habitation.

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Additive Manufacturing

AS DEVELOPMENT CONTINUES, the process may change how the marine and offshore industries handle ship or individual system repairs. By decentralizing parts manufacturing, some repairs or parts replacement can be achieved independently of supply chains and away from ports.

On-site or remote AM systems can provide added value for users by printing parts closer to the point of need, reducing the difficulties of traditional logistics and supply chain services. in supply. Cloud-based storage of digital part files, combined with on demand manufacturing, can now replace large, physical inventories of complex parts. AM systems shift the focus to maintaining block-secured part files in the cloud, managing inventory of materials or feedstock and printing unique serial numbered parts just in time, improving efficiency and streamlining the healing process.

The 3D printing nature of AM systems also provides more flexibility in part design. Printing can be more cost effective than traditional machining or casting of complex shapes while also providing greater control over material properties. When used in generative design, the benefits can be further developed to increase part performance, create lightweight parts, and provide part consolidation solutions, where systems can now integrate multiple piece in one part during printing, further reducing the cost of assembly and installation.