(Photo: NORDEN)

Intelligent drones must inspect the safety of Danish ships

Wednesday 09 Oct 19


Evangelos Boukas, Assistant Professor, Technical University of Denmark
Tel: +45 52 90 17 29
Mail: evbou@elektro.dtu.dk  

Michael Rosenberg,  Vice President, Development, FORCE Technology
Tel: +45 21 12 46 10
Mail: miro@force.dk

Nicolai Bro Johncke, Head of Corporate Communications & CSR, Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S
Tel: +45 32 71 08 65
Mail: nbj@ds-norden.com 

Alf Pearson, Principal Surveyor, North Europe Technical Performance Manager, Lloyd’s Register
Tel: +45 39 48 42 15
Mail: alf.pearson@lr.org 

Jens Bomholt, Head of press and media, Innovation Fund Denmark
Tel: + 45 61 90 50 45
Mail: jens.bomholt@innofond.dk 


Innovation Fund Denmark investment: 11,8 mio. DKK 

Total Budget: 19,4 mio. DKK 

Duration of the project:
3 years

Official title of the project: Inspectrone - Autonomous and high-level commanded system for remote inspection of marine vessels to support classification and commercial operations.
A new project will develop an intelligent drone, which will be able to recognize on its own more than 99% of the possible errors that may occur on ships when they undergo a Safety Inspection. Drones with Artificial Intelligence can thus deliver more accurate and objective results than human beings. Innovation Fund Denmark has invested 11.8 million DKK in the project.

Ships must be inspected periodically for the purposes of classification and business operation. However, it is difficult to strike the right balance between regular inspections and inspection costs in order to prevent corrosion, serious damage or even catastrophic errors on the ships. Until now, attempts at drone inspection have required human pilots and specialists and, opposite to the actual classification inspection, they have only been based on visual input. 

That task must now be taken over by intelligent drones, which will be much more precise and effective than people when it comes to inspecting ships.

The objective of the Inspectrone project, which the Innovation Fund Denmark has just invested in, is to develop an autonomous system that will use many different sensors (both visual and touch-based, e.g. ultrasound), which shall provide consistent and regular inspection data. It is expected that the technology will ultimately be used in several different areas where inspection of closed, dangerous and other hard-to-access areas are required.

One of the project parties, FORCE Technology, has performed drone based inspection for a number of years. The company’s ultrasonic systems are among the world leaders for inspection use. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, the Technical University of Denmark will find defects in images, and via touch, technology can let drones test their surroundings. Another of the parties to the project, Lloyd's Register, possesses the best know-how, what regards the structural integrity of ships, and will therefore be able to ensure that the drone-based inspection delivers satisfactory results. Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S is one of the most innovative shipping companies and will deliver the ships that the drones of the project must be trained and tested on.

The aim of the project is, thus, to create a user-friendly system that does not require expert users, and which can provide objective and accurate inspections on its own.

-Our system contains human knowledge but is, at the same time, more precise and objective. It will revolutionize ship inspections. The system is not costly and does not require an expert’s input, as simply pressing a button on a screen is required. The system can carry out regular inspections and provide vital information on the health status of ships. I am convinced that this technology will be able to give the Danish inspection and Danish shipping industry a leading position on the market, says Evangelos Boukas, assistant professor at the Technical University of Denmark.