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Transas A-Suite brings AI to maritime to reduce human error
Transashas launched its first package of applications built on THESIS, a unifiedcloud-based platform for managing operations across the full breadth of themaritime ecosystem. The advanced ‘A-Suite’ package also sets a new precedent byutilising the latest in machine learning techniques to reduce the potential forhuman errors on the bridge or poor decisions elsewhere in the vesseloperational chain.
Inaddition to the officers and crew working on board ships, the benefits ofA-Suite will be available to personnel managing VTS systems and those runningshore-based fleet operational centres or even training facilities, allowingthem to participate in real-time decision support and post-voyage analysis.
"Technologyshouldn't be an end in itself – but a tool to achieve an end,” said Transas CEOFrank Coles. “We want to help the industry improve by enabling it to makebetter decisions and boost competitive advantage, using machine intelligence toaugment the human in the loop.
“Weare especially proud to go beyond the hype by bringing to market a set ofrevolutionary AI-powered e-navigation tools apposite to the needs of modernships operating in an increasingly automated and digital world.”
The Transas A-Suite employs machine learning techniques to de-risk vessel operationon the bridge, at fleet operation centres and in VTS centres. Algorithms detectanomalies in the behaviour of the human operator wherever they are in theoperational chain and raise the alarm before the consequences of a course ofaction or momentary lapse in attention become irreversible.  The first version of the package comprising three core modules – AdvancedIntelligent Manoeuvring (AIM), Advanced Intelligent Diagnostics (AID), andAdvanced Intelligent Routing (AIR) – is now available to end-users and theservices will become fully operational over the coming months。
AIM is a track prediction system and anti-collision support tool designed toimprove situational awareness and reduce the probability of officer inattentionor poor judgement leading to an incident. Using data previously collected onthe actions and behaviour of personnel sailing in the same location, togetherwith a sophisticated hydrodynamic model of the vessel and a programmaticabstraction of the anti-collision regulations, the system provides advanceddecision support.
AID is primarily intended to detect anomalies and provide decision support both inreal-time or during a more methodical post-voyage analysis. This module detectsexcessive or unusual manoeuvring patterns, keeping an eye on parameters such asspeed and rate of turn, as well as unexpected deviations in fuel consumption.By taking data both from conventional equipment and environmental sensors andrecording how and when operators interact with vessel controls, AID marks amajor step forward in real time operational monitoring.
AIR creates a platform for voyage planning and optimisation based on an extensiveset of parameters. The application absorbs real time metocean data, hazards anda vessel’s hydrodynamic performance, as well as taking account of the impact ofknown and anticipated vessel traffic along the route and at bottlenecks.
The seare supported by Advanced Data Delivery (ADD) and Advanced Remote Maintenance(ARM). ADD frees deck officers from the laborious task of updating of specialelectronic charts (SENCs), weather data, and other navigational safety notices.It also creates an audit trail for shore-based offices ensuring that managersare fully informed of a vessel’s navigational status for compliance purposes.ARM provides remote diagnostics and performance analytics for bridge andsatellite communication equipment. It backs up key software together with itsconfiguration data and parameters to the Transas Cloud allowing rapidrestoration of service in the event of a system failure.
In addition, A-Suite features a sophisticated e-learning solution, Advanced RemoteTraining for Seafarers (ARTS), with online access to manufacturer-approved,type-specific training courses for Transas ECDIS. This is fully compliant withSOLAS, ISM, and STCW requirements.
In this way, A-Suite establishes the critical links between vessels andshore-based offices, vessel traffic control centres and training institutionsand embodies the core principles of THESIS, Transas’ vision of a harmonisedecosystem, meeting the needs of multiple operational stakeholderssimultaneously.
Resilience,security and deep data integration are fundamental to the THESIS concept and,by extension, A-Suite. As a cloud-based technology, the applications can beaccessed from ship or shore. However, recognizing the reality that outages inconnectivity do happen at sea, the ship-based installation contains an onboardpre-processing data management server, so that the applications and decisionsupport can continue to operate without a live connection to the cloud.
The THESIS network architecture has been designed from the ground up to be secure.Because it encompasses the entire vessel operational ecosystem it was possibleto incorporate encrypted channels for all data delivery rather than rely onconventional email for the exchange of potentially sensitive operational data,route plans, chart updates etc. This means, in contrast to existing solutionson the market, A-Suite is not exposed to the vulnerabilities inherent in email.
At the heart of the A-Suite is the same software kernel that powers Transas’industry leading ECDIS solutions. This gives the applications direct access toall user interactions and the various sensors on the bridge in real time. Thislevel of integration and availability of data allows A-Suite to derive insightsthat would not be possible with bolt-on standalone third-party solutions.
“When we first started to envisage how ships would be operated in the future, werealized there would be much greater collaboration between ships, back-offices,traffic control centres, etc. With A-Suite we set out to build a set ofintelligent decision support tools for working in this shared environment,”explained Coles.
“In contrast to many standalone solutions on the market today, A-Suite pullstogether a wider selection of data from a broader range of input sources.Combined with machine learning techniques, this results in a deeper level ofinsight and guidance that is more reflective of a vessel’s actual situation.”
The three-day Transas Global Conference 2018, which takes place in Vancouver inMarch, will provide greater insight into and demonstrations of the A-Suite andone day will be dedicated to the examination of the tools and their capabilitiesin the eco system. 
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