Orca AI secures US$23 million funding for autonomous shipping solution

by | 30th May 2024 | Technology, The Naval Architect - News

Home News Orca AI secures US$23 million funding for autonomous shipping solution

Tel Aviv-based Orca AI has previously collaborated with a number of high profile operators, including MSC, NYK, Maersk, and Seaspan

Orca AI, a leading AI-based operational platform for ships, has successfully raised US$23 million in new funding. This latest financial boost, led by OCV Partners and Mizmaa Ventures, brings the company’s total funding to nearly US$40 million. Orca AI is on the forefront of integrating autonomous features into existing vessels, aiming to enhance safety, efficiency, and sustainability in the maritime industry. 

The company was also recently honoured with the 2024 Maritime Safety Award from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA), sponsored by Lloyds Register. This accolade recognises their work in contributing to enhancing safety and vessel efficiency in the maritime industry. Orders for the platform are also now set to exceed 1,000 vessels.  

Founded by naval technology experts Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, who spoke to the Naval Architect in February, Orca AI has developed a platform that acts as an automated watchkeeper. This system processes multiple sources of visual information during navigation, enhancing human watchkeeping capabilities in real-time and particularly in complex marine traffic situations. Since its establishment, the company has made significant strides, including powering the world’s first autonomous commercial ship voyage with NYK in 2022. Orca AI is currently working on the next phase of its autonomous ship technology, slated for rollout in 2025. 

Yarden Gross, CEO and co-founder of Orca AI, highlighted the importance of recent innovations in connectivity, such as Elon Musk’s Starlink, in enabling advanced technologies like AI on board vessels. He emphasised that despite the maritime industry’s critical role in global trade, it has lagged behind other sectors in technological advancements. Orca AI’s technology offers a much-needed improvement in operational efficiency and safety, which is essential for shipping companies striving to meet sustainability targets. 

The company’s technology has already demonstrated its impact. In 2023, over 2,500 significant marine incidents were reported globally. However, Orca AI’s collaboration with major shipping companies such as MSC, NYK, Maersk, and Seaspan has led to a reduction in close encounters by 33% and crossing events by 40% over 15 million nautical miles. Along with enhancing safety this also demonstrates the possible economic and environmental benefits.   

By alerting crews to high-risk marine targets, Orca AI’s software aids navigation and helps to avoid unnecessary manoeuvres and speed drops. As a result the software can also reduce fuel consumption and emissions. According to statistics from the company, on average this translates to between $100,000 to $300,000 saving in fuel costs per vessel, per year and a reduction of 172,716 tonnes of CO2 annually. 

Hemi Zucker, Managing Partner at OCV Partners, noted that while significant progress has been made in autopilot and collision prevention for other modes of transport, the shipping industry is suitable for similar advancements. Catherine Leung, Co-Founder and Partner at MizMaa Ventures, echoed these sentiments and pointed out that smarter navigation choices can enhance safety and help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. 

The new investment capital will no doubt help the company continue its work in of developing further novel and efficient maritime navigation software. 

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