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Wednesday, October 31, 2018 

Rotterdam-based marine technology company VStep has recently partnered with Captain AI, a Dutch start-up, to be a part of the future of autonomous shipping.

With this investment in Captain AI, VStep says it will position itself on the forefront of this new industry and continue to push for innovative solutions.

Autonomous shipping is predicted to be an extremely disruptive element in maritime transport due to its many effects within the industry. Benefits include reducing human error and crew costs, increasing the safety of life on-board, enabling more efficient use of fuel and changing ship design to accommodate more cargo space. Crew quarters and equipment that support personnel would be removed, which would lead to an increased space for cargo and potentially higher revenues.

Captain AI co-founder and CEO Vincent Wegener explained the urge of this new technology: “Autonomous shipping will revolutionise the shipping and port related industries. Currently more than 75% of marine casualties are due to human error and autonomous shipping will significantly reduce these errors. Additionally, the economics of autonomous shipping are clear; the crew makes up 10% to 30% of the total shipping costs. Reducing these costs will make the shipping industry more efficient. Captain AI will work closely together with the VStep to make safe and efficient autonomous shipping a reality.”

“The approach of Captain AI is one we wanted to follow,” commented VStep Technical Director Steve Claes. “Captain AI is pioneering an autonomous shipping solution based on state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms. By using our cutting edge Nautis simulation software, we can assist Captain AI in validating their latest AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms. Our Nautis system has many weather conditions and technical capabilities, making it possible to train AI in the most effective way possible.”

VStep will be investing in Captain AI together with international maritime and logistics insurance company Post & Co. With this participation VStep is prepared for its role in the autonomous shipping transition and future of the maritime industry. “This is in line with a trend within VStep to strive towards the most effective innovative solutions. One of our goals is to make the world a better and safer place and this investment perfectly embodies this. By using the latest AI algorithms, such as deep reinforcement learning, it is possible to achieve such technological advancements,” said VStep MD Henk van den Berg.

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