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Orca AI secures $23M to advance development of autonomous shipping technology

London-based digital technology firm, Orca AI, has now raised close to $40 million with its latest tranche of $23 million new funding.

The latest finance round was led by Los Angeles-based venture capital firm, OCV Partners, and Mizmaa Ventures of Tel Aviv.  

The company’s operational platform, set up by AI technology specialists Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, has been developed to support ship operators by improving safety, operational efficiency and ship sustainability. Its automated situational awareness system, SeaPod, which supports watchkeepers by detecting and tracking objects at sea, day or night and in all weather conditions, is already installed on vessels operated by Maran Tankers, MSC, NYK, Seaspan, and TMS Tankers.

Orca AI’s technology is also designed to avoid unnecessary manoeuvres and speed reductions, saving fuel and cutting emissions. The company claims that improved navigational efficiency has generated an annual average saving of $100-300,000 in fuel costs per vessel, equivalent to 3-5%, with corresponding emissions reductions  of 172,716 tonnes of carbon dioxide. 

Last year, there were some 2,500 significant marine incidents. Over the period, Orca AI figures indicate that its technology reduced close encounters by 33% and crossing events by 40% over 15 million nautical miles across its installed portfolio.

Orca AI technology also supports protection of marine assets against threats such as drone attacks and piracy, the company said. It helps personnel to anticipate and counter these risks, improving security for both marine personnel and ships’ cargoes.

OCV Partners’ Managing Partner, Hemi Zucker, commented: “Maritime transport is the lifeblood of international trade and the global economy. Over 80% of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, a two trillion-dollar market by some estimates. While planes, trains, and automobiles have seen tremendous progress and investment in regards to autopilot and collision prevention, we believe that the shipping industry is still up for grabs and there is a category defining opportunity in autonomous ships – ships that captain themselves.”

Yarden Gross, Orca AI co-founder and CEO, said: “Ships deal with increasingly congested waterways, severe weather and low visibility conditions creating difficult navigation experiences with often expensive cargo. We’ve recently proven forward-thinking companies that adopt our technology have seen huge operational improvements from year to year, in creating a safer and more efficient shipping industry. These improvements are crucial for shipping companies in meeting corporate sustainability targets, but importantly the benefits are far reaching beyond just the customers.”


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