$23m in Fresh Funding for Startup Who Says its AI Autonomous Ship Tech Can Save 5% on Bunker Costs

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday May 24, 2024

A tech startup that promises safer marine voyages using less fuel has raised $23 million in new funding, taking its total finding to almost $40 million.

Founded by Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, Orca AI says it is the first step in introducing autonomous features to vessels already on the water.

In 2022 a first generation version of its tech powered what it says was the world's first autonomous commercial ship voyage with NYK.

A second second phase of fully autonomous ship technology is set to be rolled out in 2025.

Orders for the platform will soon surpass more than 1,000 vessels, it adds.

"By detecting and alerting crew to high-risk marine targets, Orca AI optimizes operations to avoid unnecessary maneuvers and speed drops, reducing fuel burn and emissions," Orca AI says.

"The improved navigational decisions enabled by Orca AI resulted in an average $100 – 300k saving in fuel per vessel per year (3-5%) and 172,716 tonnes of CO2 reduction last year."

The platform also enables proactive mitigation from threats such as drone attacks and piracy by anticipating attacks.

"Innovations in high-speed, low cost, global connectivity, such as with Elon Musk's Starlink have opened the door for advanced technologies such as AI on board vessels to improve operational efficiency and safety," Gross explained.

"It's a welcomed pivotal moment, as despite the majority of global cargo transported by sea, the maritime industry has lagged behind industries such as aviation when it comes to keeping up with technological innovations."

While not mentioned by the company, advocates of autonomous shipping have long highlighted that life support systems for live crew onboard vessels are a significant source of energy consumption.

Fully autonomous ships woud thus also save fuel by removing the need to power such systems.