Bringing together Rolls-Royce’s expertise in advanced ship technology with components and systems engineering from Intel, the partnership is designed to advance smart, connected, and data-centric systems for ship owners, operators, cargo owners, and ports. The new shipping intelligence systems, say the companies, will have data center and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, as well as edge computing throughout that independently manages navigation, obstacle detection, and communications.

“Delivering these systems is all about processing – moving and storing huge volumes of data – and that is where Intel comes in,” says Lisa Spelman, vice president and general manager, Intel Xeon Processors and Data Center Marketing in the Data Center Group at Intel. “Rolls-Royce is a key driver of innovation in the shipping industry, and together we are creating the foundation for safe shipping operations around the world.”

The ships have dedicated Intel Xeon Scalable processor-based servers on board, says Intel, turning them into cutting-edge floating data centers with heavy computation and AI inference capabilities. Rolls-Royce’s Intelligent Awareness System uses AI-powered sensor fusion and decision-making by processing data from lidar, radar, thermal cameras, HD cameras, satellite data, and weather forecasts.

This data allows vessels to become aware of their surroundings, improving safety by detecting objects several kilometers away, even in busy ports. This is especially important when operating at night, in adverse weather conditions, or in congested waterways.

The collected data is stored using Intel 3D NAND SSDs, acting as a “black box” and securing the information for training and analysis once the ship is docked. Even compressed, data captured by each vessel can reach up to 1TB per day or 30TB to 40TB over a month-long voyage, making storage a critical component of the intelligent solution.

Kevin Daffey, director, Engineering & Technology and Ship Intelligence at Rolls-Royce says, “This collaboration is helping us to develop technology that supports ship owners in the automation of their navigation and operations, reducing the opportunity for human error and allowing crews to focus on more valuable tasks. Simply said, this project would not be possible without leading-edge technology now brought to the table by Intel. Together, we can blend the best of the best to change the world of shipping.”


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