Rolls Royce has teamed up with Intel to build what it is calling a "sophisticated, intelligent - and eventually - autonomous shipping system".
This, the engineering giant says, will use artificial intelligence powered by Intel's Xeon Gold processors and SSDs for memory and storage to make commercial shipping "safer and more efficient".
"Delivering these systems is all about processing, moving and storing huge volumes of data, and that is where Intel comes in," said Lisa Spelman, general manager of Xeon Products in Intel's Data Centre Group, which is collaborating on the project.
She continued: "Rolls-Royce is a key driver of innovation in the shipping industry and together we are creating the foundation for safe shipping operations around the world."
Intel believes the move is important because 90 per cent of world trade is currently carried out by international shipping, with more than 52,000 commercial vehicles at sea - 30,000 of which use Rolls Royce equipment.
"The sea can be a very hostile environment at times, and crew safety is a top priority for ship operators," Intel claimed in a statement.
"Enabling these behemoths loaded with millions or billions of dollars worth of goods to better navigate, detect obstacles and hazards as well as IT workload consolidation, means the crew can focus on more valuable tasks."
The systems will also reduce the capacity for human error, potentially saving not just money, but lives, the chip company said.
the collaboration will work by giving the Rolls Royce ships dedicated Xeon Gold servers onboard, turning them into floating data centres with heavy computation and AI inference capabilities.
They will use AI-powered sensor fusion and decision making to provide situational awareness to the vessels, improving safety and allowing the ships to detect objects several kilometres away.
All the data collected by the vessels will be stored using Intel 3D NAND SSDs, acting as a "black box" in case of an accident. Even compressed, each vessel will be able ton capture up to 1TB of data per day, making storage a critical component of the intelligent solution.
"This collaboration can help us to support ship owners in the automation of their navigation and operations, reducing the opportunity for human error and allowing crews to focus on more valuable tasks," said Kevin Daffey, Rolls Royce's director of Engineering & Technology and Ship Intelligence.
"Together, we'll blend the best of the best, Intel and Rolls-Royce to change the world of shipping."
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