The maritime industry is traditionally strong in EU. Although European companies and the whole maritime value chain is no longer leading in the ship capacity (tonnage). In fact, in production of container ships, tankers, and bulk carriers China, Korea and Japan leading and deliver the majority of the ships (over 97%), while European producers have the leading role in different types of passenger ships, cruisers, ferries (84% of the total market) . The global trends influenced EU market and right now the majority of European maritime companies are global suppliers of maritime systems and subsystems becoming world leaders in new technologies and their application in integrated management systems for ships and vessels. In consequence, European maritime industry focuses on high value-added products high safety standards and has the leading position in application of green technologies, and is not focusing on the ship capacity (tonnage) that, due to high competition in Asia, do not bring a margin for big income but focuses on higher value products (e.g. ICT systems) instead providing higher and more sustainable profits. Therefore, in order to keep the competitive position in the global maritime industry and even to exploit it more by broadening the European value chain in ship industry that will also impact jobs and wealth creation, new global megatrends in IoT and especially fast and cost-efficient edge processing, upcoming 5G communication era with millimetre wave-based systems allowing for huge bandwidths and very low latencies, and also AI/ML-enriched systems that, if proven to be secure and reliable, can revolutionize ICT in terms of decision support and fast response time.
To have the biggest possible impact on European maritime value chain and simultaneously on global maritime market, InSecTT project innovations will focus of the intersection of three key technologies, namely AI/ML-based algorithms, edge computing and data processing and reliable 5G communication. Because maritime domain will be a part of InSecTT use cases and especially those with cross-domain applications, it is expected that reliable and secure wireless communication developed within the project will allow for new type of low-cost smart sensor solutions that, when applied on the ship, will provide highly dependable communication for distributed maritime systems and, as a result, will have its impact on weight reductions and, therefore, also overall energy efficiency, which is one of the key ingredients of long-term vision of Europe.
The InSecTT’s key technologies will also contribute to finalizing new products for maritime (waterside) infrastructures monitoring and security controls, like underwater acoustic and magnetic barriers. These systems will be integrated and verified in real use cases and conditions to test and validate their performances. Integration of smart communication solutions and AI will help in managing the available big quantity of information and learning how to interpret data to reduce/avoid false alarms and to simplify operators’ decisions. Such security systems are mainly used to protect military harbours, but they will become more and more interesting for future maritime applications, depending on the growth of marine resources exploitation (e.g. raw materials mines, oil and gas platforms, wind turbines, etc.). It is expected that the technologies developed within the project will allow being ready for market requests with adaptable/scalable proven solutions, already compatible with state of the art of local communication systems (e.g. 5G networks).
Ships and maritime equipment industry in EU employs more than 0.5 million people and has an average annual turnover of around 72 bln € with around 70% to 90% of its production for export markets. What is even more pronounced, the European marine equipment manufacturing and industry (e.g. propulsion, cargo handling, communication, automation, integrated systems, etc.) is made up of around 7 500 companies, with the vast majority of them being SMEs. Because a ship by definition is a perfect integration environment for new and innovative technologies and at least 70% of a complex ship’s value is made up of marine equipment, the competitiveness of the European maritime industry relies in its capacity for applying research results. In the upcoming area of autonomous or cross-connected ships, affordable 5G communication solutions, reliable and secure AI/ML-based algorithms that can be integrated in edge devices or cloud are vital to secure those jobs and sustain economic viability of the industry, and particularly EU’s SMEs, in such demanding highly competitive and global market.
Moreover, the same technologies may be re-used in recreational craft sector producing 2.5 m – 24 m leisure or sport boats and responsible for 20 bln € in annual revenue 32 000 businesses (almost 97% of businesses are SMEs) operate within EU having at least 0.28 million employees. The sector is dynamic and shows great potential for growth but faces unfair completion and needs innovations to stay competitive in global market. One of the key innovations considered in the maritime industry, and particularly in recreational craft sector, in the upcoming autonomous ships era will be reliable AI/ML-based edge/cloud technologies and systems that will increase the overall boat/ship safety via constant environment sensing and analysis together with more optimized and eco-friendly routing. Such systems are considered as one of the most important intermediary steps towards fully autonomous ships.
Predicted quantifiable metrics and targets including end users are:
- Completion of at least 10 sensors (5 magnetic and 5 acoustic) to build 1 acoustic and 1 magnetic barrier
- Reduction of single sensor cost of 30% and barrier cost of 20% compared to the present prototypes
- Integration between the waterside port-security system and the other ports access control systems to meet EU Port Authorities security needs (as prescribed in ISPS code) and to provide an invaluable set of secondary benefits that very positively impact the successful operations of other divisions within the Port, the Business Partners, Customers, and Law Enforcement Agencies.
- InSecTT views security as an important factor in the optimization of the quality of port services as well as that of the supply chains. By increasing the efficiency of security, EU ports will realize substantial improvements in competitiveness. This will be particularly important for on the small and medium-sized ports when it comes to integration of security with port processes.
 Multi-Annual Strategic Plan (“MASP”), ECSEL-JU, 2019.
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