Stena Line implements AI for voyage optimization

Written by Nick Blenkey
vessel using vAI voyage optimization

[Photo: Stena Line/Stygn-Tonie Högberg]

Leading European ferry operator Stena Line reports that it is seeing a 1-5%reduction in fuel consumption thanks to its strategic use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its in-house developed Voyage Optimization System. Family-owned Stena Line operates approximately 40 vessels on 20 routes in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, completing 33,300 sailings each year. The AI voyage optimization system has has been tested on crossings between Gothenburg, Sweden, and Frederikshavn, Denmark, and other routes.

The use of AI helps to optimize vessel operations by accurately analyzing a number of factors that affect the vessel’s voyage, such as wind, waves and depth during the crossing, ensuring correct and energy-efficient power output. The data is collected in real time and processed through AI-powered algorithms, reducing fuel consumption and securing the operational strategy.

“It is clear that the use of AI both optimizes our operations and supports our vision of a more sustainable future. It is positive to see how the technology has not only enabled significant progress in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and streamline work, but also gives our crew more time to manage day-to-day operations,” said Michael Ljunge, digital engineering Manager at Stena Line.

The developers of the AI voyage optimization system work closely with the ship’s crew, both navigators and captains, to continuously receive feedback and make adjustments. This collaboration has proven to be crucial in improving the AI solutions and ensuring its practicality in operations.

“One of the biggest challenges in implementing AI has been ensuring that everyone on board understands how the system works,” says Ljunge. “We originally named the system ‘AI Captain’, but changed this shortly afterwards to avoid misconceptions that AI would replace human decision-making. Instead, the technology is now presented as an intelligent assistant that supports the captain’s and crew’s decisions, which has helped to integrate the AI system in a more natural way and as a tool that complements human expertise and experience.”

The increased use of AI in voyage optimization and the subsequent efficiency developments are “just the beginning,” says Stena Line. With current technological advances, Stena Line aims to continue to set the standard for more environmentally friendly and innovative maritime transportation. These developments are also part of Stena Line’s broader strategy to integrate sustainable solutions into all areas of its business, including the company’s travel agency Sembos’ introduction of an AI assistant that streamlines travel planning and booking and transforms the traditional travel industry.

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