Can an AI “personal trainer” help boost vessel efficiency?

Written by Nick Blenkey
iHelm on vessel bridge

The iHelm solution has been cllaed "a personal trainer for captains"

A new company based on a spin-off from Volvo Penta aims to help commercial marine vessels minimize emissions and maximize efficiency. Called Cetasol, the company is a start-up formed by Volvo Penta and the Qamcom Group. It will be headed up by Ethan Faghani and will promote a solution called iHelm.

The iHelm idea came from within the new technology development team at Volvo Penta which was led by Faghani, the former chief engineer of automation and AI at Volvo Penta. It was recognized that this solution could have a large impact on the fuel efficiency of customer operations.

A preliminary pilot test was run with a Volvo Penta customer, and showed a 17% reduction in fuel consumption. That started the process rolling that led to the spin-off,

The iHelm system consists of an on-board interface and a cloud solution that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to continuously find the optimum operation. In this case, interpretation of data and recognition of patterns that gives optimum recommendations for minimizing fuel consumption or energy usage.

The system has been compared to the captain’s own “personal trainer” helping operate the vessel more sustainably. Cetasol will work very closely with customers and their vessels, to maximize efficiency.

View ofv the iHelm dash
Cloud view of iHelm dashboard

“The need for increased sustainability has never been more relevant and technology will play a key role in creating new solutions,” says Faghani. “Cetasol’s mission will be to help commercial marine companies save time and energy by identifying ways to be more efficient through an intelligent support system installed in each vessel.”

Why the spin-off?

“The traditional way to establish leadership was to protect intellectual property,” says Faghani. “However, the new leadership is about connecting organizations in a way that maximizes their value. And that’s exactly what’s been done with this new business.”

“The current pace of technological developments means we need to find additional ways to create customer value through innovation,” says Jakob Ursby, Director of Business Development at Volvo Penta. “To be a world leader in sustainable power solutions we need to diversify the way we develop and take products to market and drive sustainability together in different partnerships. At Volvo Penta, we are already working with services and AI, but the unique thing is that the idea has spun off and is growing in a start-up environment with an external tech partner.”

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