STENA Line has reported a significant reduction in fuel consumption on vessels crossing between Sweden and Denmark by using an artificial intelligence system.

The Swedish shipping line, which specialises in ferry transportation, has claimed that using AI, specifically a system called the Voyage Optimisation System, resulted in a 1-5% reduction in fuel consumption during voyages.

Stena Line says VOS is used onboard to optimise vessel operations by analysing key factors that affect the vessel’s voyage, such as wind, waves and depth, using the system’s data in real-time to ensure energy efficient power output.

VOS has been tested aboard Stena Line ships on crossings between Gothenburg and the Danish port of Frederikshav, amongst others. Stena has emphasised AI’s importance in its development of eco-friendly transport and sustainable solutions.

Michael Ljunge, a digital engineering manager at Stena, said: “It is clear that the use of AI both optimises our operations and supports our vision of a more sustainable future.

“It is positive to see how the technology has not only enabled significant progress in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and streamline work, but also gives our crew more time to manage day-to-day operations.”

Mr Ljunge said the developers of the system work continuously with the ship’s crew to receive feedback and make adjustments, a collaboration Stena described as “crucial”.

“One of the biggest challenges in implementing AI has been ensuring that everyone on board understands how the system works,” Mr Ljunge said.

“We originally named the system ‘AI Captain’, but changed this shortly afterwards to avoid misconceptions that AI would replace human decision-making.

“Instead, the technology is now presented as an intelligent assistant that supports the captain’s and crew’s decisions, which has helped to integrate the AI system in a more natural way and as a tool that complements human expertise and experience.”

Stena Line is one of several shipping lines to integrate AI for onboard voyage optimisation, as the emerging technology is being further explored in maritime as the industry transitions to decarbonised and eco-friendly transportation methods.