Data, artificial intelligence: predictive maintenance on board ships

@Luke Bender

Passionate about sailing and new technologies, Nicolas De Laet merged the company Sailsense in 2017 with Yannick Vereerstraeten after a crossing of the Atlantic rich in adventures and ideas. Specialized in predictive maintenance, the company equips boats with sensors and analyzes the data in order to make them more reliable and less expensive. Explanations.

How does Sailsense transform simple boats into connected boats?

1652497690 524 Data artificial intelligence predictive maintenance on board ships

Nicolas de Laet, founder of Sailsense @David Plas

You should know that a boat combines the troubles of a car and an apartment. A boat is complex and expensive to operate and maintain. Technical problems can be many and it is possible to lose it. By generating data related to the boat, we are able to perform predictive maintenance in order to anticipate breakdowns and save energy. The principle is the same as in aviation. We provide a link between the boat and our system in the cloud and analyze the data generated. Concretely, if the engine of a boat presents a problem, we compare the data with those of our base. Our database is made up of normal engine operating information and anonymized information from other similar boats. Algorithms are responsible for making comparisons in order to give the procedure to follow.

What role does artificial intelligence play?

Our algorithms make it possible to make predictions. For example, we are able to predict the operating temperature of an engine based on extrapolated atmospheric data, such as water temperature. Artificial intelligence intervenes in the comparison of the data that we have at our disposal.

How do users access these predictions?

Everything works through a mobile application which is connected to the cloud and the boat. Recommendations and alerts are made in real time. We provide the complete ecosystem, from sensors to graphical interfaces.

Who are your clients ?

Boat builders, rental companies as well as the sailors themselves. Boating is in a digital transition phase. As with the car, we are moving towards a service ecosystem. Boat rental companies must reinvent their business by dematerializing certain processes, such as check-in and check-out. We offer the same service as for shared cars to control the rental with a photo verification system. For this, rental companies send a message to their customers inviting them to download the Sailsense application.

Autonomous boats are multiplying, do you think they will become the norm?

Autonomous professional boats are the future. But challenges must be met. It’s already complicated for cars that move on roads that do not change. So imagine for boats subject to the current and the weather. On the other hand, I do not believe in it for pleasure boats. It’s like making an Aston Martin self-driving car. People who sail derive a pleasure from it that would not be wise to suppress. On the other hand, I think that technical solutions will make navigation more accessible and eliminate certain areas of concern.

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Data, artificial intelligence: predictive maintenance on board ships

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