MPA, Fujitsu testing technology to reduce risks of ship collision

Named Fujitsu Human Centric AI Zinrai, the system uses artificial intelligence to detect ship collision risks and predict hotspots where risks are higher.
Named Fujitsu Human Centric AI Zinrai, the system uses artificial intelligence to detect ship collision risks and predict hotspots where risks are higher.PHOTO: FUJITSU

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Japanese firm Fujitsu are testing technology that could give ship captains earlier warnings about potential collisions with other vessels.

A two-year field trial of the system has concluded, and further tests will be conducted before the authorities decide whether to deploy the system, the MPA said yesterday.

The system named Fujitsu Human Centric AI Zinrai uses artificial intelligence to detect ship collision risks and predict hot spots where risks are higher.

An MPA spokesman said: "The technology is more dynamic, it gives you a lot more in terms of timing (to react).

"If you can actually predict much earlier in terms of where a collision might occur... then captains of affected vessels can make decisions earlier."

Currently, maritime traffic controllers warn vessels of any collision risk through a system that detect incidents in which ships move unusually close to one another.

Fujitsu said its risk detection technology would theoretically be able to give operators about five minutes' lead time to warn ships of any possible collision.

  • Chan Chun Sing, industry experts to speak at Singapore Maritime Week

  • Growing the Republic's maritime sector through connectivity, innovation and talent will be the key focus of the upcoming Singapore Maritime Week 2019, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said yesterday.

    Among the speakers at the nine-day event is Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who will deliver a speech that will cover global and regional developments in the maritime industry.

    The MPA said at a media briefing that more than 40,000 participants are expected to attend Maritime Week. The agency said driving connectivity, innovation and talent were selected as key themes as these three are pillars that support Singapore's standing as a global maritime hub.

    The purpose-built Maritime Innovation Lab, which aims to create an enabling environment for maritime innovation, will be unveiled next week, MPA added.

    At the briefing, Association of Singapore Marine Industries executive director Winnie Low noted that this year's Maritime Week comes amid a prolonged downturn of more than four years in the global maritime and offshore industries.

    But there have been encouraging signs of recovery in the non-drilling and gas market, and the local maritime sector has benefited from positive initiatives by the Government, she said.

    Maritime Week will start on Saturday and end next Sunday. On Monday, Mr Chan will deliver a keynote speech, "Whither Singapore as a Maritime Hub?", at the Singapore Maritime Lecture at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. He will also join a panel of industry experts to discuss connectivity to world trade and China, and changing business models.

    Other highlights of the week include the Sea Asia global forum, which will see experts discuss geopolitics, tech disruption and regulatory pressures.

    A Parliament-style debate will be conducted next Wednesday to discuss whether too much is expected of shipping owners on environmental matters.

    Organisers will also conduct public outreach events in an effort to reach out to more people. This includes an exhibition at Marina Square to showcase Singapore's maritime story, and a challenge in which participants race around the country to find out more about Singapore's role as a global maritime hub.

    Toh Ting Wei

Separately, it claims its dynamic risk hot spot detection technology could detect risks up to 15 minutes in advance.

The company said: "As vessel operations and interactions become more complex, the ability to detect and predict vessel movements in advance, especially in high-density vessel traffic areas like Singapore, is key to managing and reducing collision risks."

Fujitsu added that it will continue working with Singapore to improve the technology.

It plans to deliver services that use the technology in the next year.

The firm conducted research and testing on the technology with help from about 10 MPA officers from the Vessel Traffic Management Department and Port Systems Division over two years.

It used past traffic data for the Singapore Strait provided by the MPA to pick out information such as examples of collisions or near misses, as well as examples of developing dynamic risk hot spots.

The prediction technology was then compared against human operators.

The Singapore Strait is one of the world's busiest shipping zones, with hundreds of container ships, oil and fuel tankers and dry bulk carriers daily traversing the waters that connect East Asia to Europe, India and Africa.

In February, a turning error by a Greek-registered bulk carrier caused a collision with a Malaysian government vessel in Singapore waters.

In April last year, two tankers collided off Singapore's coast, resulting in a leak of liquefied petroleum gas from one of the ships.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'MPA, Fujitsu testing technology to reduce risks of ship collision'. Print Edition | Subscribe