Artificial Tracking is developing an AI-based maritime safety solution, which identifies potentially dangerous situations on board a vessel and brings additional safety to the operations. Helsinki Business Hub has connected Artificial Tracking with valuable contacts and provided advice to the company aiming to operate globally.
Together with their team, Jarmo Kõster and Toomas Allikas are developing a new kind of maritime safety solution to save lives at sea by reducing human risks to the minimum.
“Our vision is accident-free shipping,” says Kõster, CEO of Artificial Tracking. He has over 25 years of industry experience as a mariner, sea pilot and educator.
His partner Allikas, the COO of the company, is a serial entrepreneur, who already has a company Retex Panels in Finland. It aims to convert textile waste into value-added products such as panels for the construction industry. This initiative started a fruitful cooperation with Helsinki Business Hub.
The need for new maritime safety innovation stems from growth. The international maritime trade exceeded the 11 billion ton mark in 2018, and the growth is expected to continue in the next ten years. This translates to an increasing number of vessels, crew members and accidents at sea. Over 3,000 maritime casualties and incidents were reported in 2019. Despite the technological improvements to maritime safety systems, more than 75 percent of accidents result from human error.
AI solution that identifies incidents
The Artificial Tracking platform, namely AT platform, is based on AI. The system comprises a network of cameras and other sensors monitoring and analyzing the crew’s activities and technical performance of ships.
“Typical incidents include a collision between two or more vessels, a man overboard and foreign objects around the vessel. In most cases, it is the result of the officer on watch focusing on ancillary activities,” says Kõster.
This is where the AT platform steps in. When the system detects a dangerous situation, it launches an alarm on the screens installed on the ships’ bridge, as well as sends an alert via mobile application to named crew members, including the captain and ship owners on the land. AT provides several positive scenarios on how to solve the situation, and then it is up to the captain to decide on the correct course of action.
By the time the AT platform is launched, its database will include over 400 real-life cases as the basis for scenarios. AI learns from every incident, so the more vessels use the system, the smarter it gets.
Help with valuable contacts from Helsinki Business Hub
The team started to look for university, R&D and industry partners in the beginning of 2020. The company was registered in Finland, and active work to attain the financing began.
As Allikas had a previous positive experience from starting a business in Finland, he approached Helsinki Business Hub to present their concept and get the support needed.
“Irma Ylikangas and Maria Hartikainen from Helsinki Business Hub have been of great help. They have shared maritime market information with us, put a lot of time in our customer and partner strategy and introduced us to valuable contacts in different companies opening many doors for the future,” says Allikas.
He sees that the many start-up company services the City of Helsinki via Helsinki Business Hub and Finnish Government via Business Finland provide are a well-planned set. One can get strategic and practical advice, contacts and information on financing opportunities.
Finland is a top location for maritime companies
Kõster and Allikas decided to start a business in Finland, because the Finnish maritime industry is so developed regarding both, the R&D activities and entrepreneurship. They also appreciate the global experience Finland as a country has.
Now the Finnish partners of Artificial Tracking include VTT, Aalto University and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Other strategic partners are Flensburg Maritime Centre, Estonian Maritime Academy of Tallinn University of Technology and Tartu University UT iCV Lab.
Allikas and Kõster consider the cooperation with VTT, one of the leading research institutions in Europe, extremely important as it could bring the innovation level and business to new heights.
“Having the experience from companies operating worldwide is important as we want to launch our AI solution globally. As there is no such AI solution available that includes all aspects of ship operations in one comprehensive system we have a competitive edge in entering the market now, ” says Allikas referring to ship performance indicators, external influences and the crew.
Ambitious growth plans
Artificial Tracking plans to implement the AT platform on maritime simulators before the ship-based application to test the system and improve educational aspects. Accompanying products, the classroom analyzer and rating tool will also be developed to monitor students’ and teachers’ behavior to raise the quality of maritime education.
The future holds a place for a multipurpose vessel equipped with the AT platform to provide a unique training opportunity for customers in actual sea-going conditions.
Artificial Tracking has ambitious growth plans. The company aims to engage around 200 employees in five years to sell and install the system, provide customer support and continue with R&D. Additional vessels will be built to test the system, train the crew members and continue R&D in the Baltics, Northern and Central Europe.
“We plan to develop the AT platform in 8–10 months and expect to gain revenue by the 14th month. It is projected to be around 82 million euros in five years,” says Allikas and adds that the next steps include the conquering of other transport sectors, aviation, military and heavy machinery.
Writer: Katja Alaja
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