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Rolls-Royce and Intel announce autonomous ship collaboration


United Kingdom — Rolls-Royce and Intel are intending to collaborate on designs for sophisticated intelligent shipping systems that will make commercial shipping safer, the parties announced.

This will advance smart, connected and data-centric systems for ship owners, operators, cargo owners and ports, bringing together the expertise in advanced ship technology from Rolls-Royce with components and systems engineering from Intel. With a focus on safety, new ships will have systems with the same technology found in smart cities, autonomous cars and drones.

The new shipping intelligence systems will have data centre and artificial intelligence capabilities as well as sophisticated edge computing throughout that independently manage navigation, obstacle detection and communications. The components embedded in these systems are dedicated to work load consolidation, edge computing, communications and storage, including:

  • Intel Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology will solve design challenges associated with shipping intelligence by providing engineers with a flexible platform and the IP and components for edge operations such as obstacle detection and navigation
  • Intel Xeon Scalable Processors optimized for High Performance Computing (HPC) technology will manage complex modelling of ship functions, with future developments using learning models to support fully autonomous operations
  • Memory and storage, including Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory and Intel Optane SSD Intel 3D NAND SSD will ensure ship intelligence systems are reliable, responsive and support extracting maximum value from the data generated through real-time analysis and systems modelling

Kevin Daffey, Rolls-Royce, Director, Engineering & Technology and Ship Intelligence said: “We’re delighted to sign this agreement with Intel, and look forward to working together on developing exciting new technologies and products, which will play a big part in enabling the safe operation of autonomous ships. 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.

“Simply said, this project would not be possible without the leading-edge technology Intel brings to the table. Together, we’ll blend the best of the best, Intel and Rolls-Royce to change the world of shipping.”