Meet Yarden Gross, CEO and Co-Founder at Marine Navigation Technology Company: Orca AI

Orca AI is an AI-based navigation and vessel tracking system that supports ships in difficult to tricky to navigate situations and congested waterways, using vision sensors, thermal and low-light cameras, plus algorithms that look at the environment and alert crews to dangerous situations. This technology allows the captain and crew access to real-time environment views which assists with decision making.

Our goal at Orca AI is to provide the industry with intelligent navigation solutions to prevent collisions and save lives, offering technology to reduce human-caused navigation errors through intelligent AI.
Orca AI Raises $2.6M in Seed Funding | FinSMEs

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

My co-founder and I both have a background in military operations from our time serving in the Isreali Navy and we quickly noticed that the technology on the navy ships was naturally far superior to that of distribution and haulage ships. The shipping industry in general is one of the oldest industries in the world, with early reports dating back 5000 years ago as the Arabic Sea route was established.

Health and safety on board ships is the highest priority for operators, customers and crews. We wanted good AI to be introduced on ships to aid navigation, avoid collisions and tackle a number of complex scenarios that crews endeavor on a daily basis. AI can help everyone on and offshore make better decisions and introduce new processes to make everyone’s lives easier whilst keeping up with demand.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

There are more than 4,000 marine incidents every year, largely due to human error. This figure has increased dramatically as the pandemic progressed, with crew changes becoming few and far apart. With the fatigue from longer stints at sea, crews will naturally become less reactive and likely to miss key pieces of information that are crucial to daily operations and navigation.

With coronavirus, people all around the world were relying more heavily than ever on the shipping industry to deliver goods, medicine and PPE to countries that needed support. The recent events in the Suez Canal have highlighted how crucial this industry is. Our goal is to enable the shipping industry to avoid disasters such as this, which is still causing havoc due to the backlog and traffic around the canal.

What can we hope to see from Orca AI in the future?

We see a future whereby ships are intelligent and able to make decisions autonomously based on data, getting from A-to-B on their own, all while communicating with other vessels and on-shore personnel. While this will be a gradual process towards full autonomy, these intelligent ships will also be able to make on-the-spot and well-thought-out decisions based on the type of operation they are trying to achieve. For example, being efficient does not always necessarily mean fast – so, the AI will be able to analyse and summarise the best course of action to take for each of the companies’ remit for their customers on an individual basis.

A key benefit of Orca AI’s technology is its ability to understand the maritime environment as well as any captain and to process raw data to generate actionable insights. It enables crews to reflect on specific events and understand why they happened.

With this in mind, the main use cases and benefits are the guarantee that it will monitor and prevent risk, it will reduce workload, will provide the ability to safeguard teams, will provide the tools to record events for insurance purposes and will provide unprecedented transparency between ship and shore and effective training.