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Startup Profile 2020: Sirius Insight

UK-based SiriusInsight employs the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to provide users with real-time analysis of vessel behaviour, maritime risk and regulatory compliance.

Led by an executive team commanding “extensive experience across shipping, defence, insurance, investment and academia”, SiriusInsight (SI) describes itself as an “early-stage technology company” focusing on “data analytics to support operators in the maritime environment”. Founded in 2016 “to address maritime ‘big data’ challenges with pioneering solutions driven by the latest academic developments”, it offers users an AI-powered platform that, it says, provides “clear, uncluttered analytics enabling invaluable insights” for a range of shipping, insurance and defence purposes.

“Ninety per cent of the world’s trade is carried by sea, but the behaviour and risk of the ships that carry that trade is largely untold,” the company says. “This ‘sea-blindness’ is now curable. Partnering recent developments in AI with extensive domain expertise means that we can derive rapid insight into the behaviour and risk of vessels at sea.”

“A significant leap in maritime data has been enabled by the rapid increase in data sourced by satellite – ship positions, optical images, radar and weather are now available at [the] level of granularity and latency that enables this rich insight into behaviour,” it continues. Furthermore, recent advances in AI and ML can “transform this data into actionable intelligence”, such as, for example, through the “automated computer vision of images to pattern-of-life behavioural analysis”.

“Our data analytics platform is able to monitor over 200,000 ships a day in real time and to understand their activity, quantify risk and help make maritime operators more competitive in their market through commercial and operational efficiencies,” SI asserts. 

Combining “the very latest computer science talent and AI technologies”, the SiriusInsight platform ”takes data from multiple sources and fuses it for greater accuracy”. At the same time, ML is employed “to identify patterns and trends and enables advanced analysis to assist operators through highlighting anomalous or risky behaviour”. As such, the platform can furnish users with a “comprehensive picture” and “greater understanding” of activity at sea; “the quantification of risk presented by every vessel”; and the identification of any unusual or suspicious ship movements.

Furthermore, it can also provide an assessment of a vessel’s operating pattern and associated risk in support of due diligence and routine operations; help in the policing of/compliance with regulations, such as sanctions and Sulphur 2020; and analysis in support of insurance claims. Similarly, the platform can also provide “assistance in the operation of ports with benefits for port operator and ship owner” alike.

“SiriusInsight puts forward a disruptive capability which can be used in various areas worldwide,” the company says. “It can provide operators with the opportunity to realise substantial financial savings and solutions while enabling significant improvement in operations and reducing complexities regarding compliance and regulation. Ultimately, the platform could have utility across entire supply chains.”  

“SiriusInsight’s platform is differentiated from others in that it does not to rely on one data source,” it states. “Sirius provides real-time intelligence which fuses multiple sources of data enabling superior situational awareness of the maritime environment. By fusing data from multiple sources, we provide the operator with improved reliability and unparalleled decision-making capabilities.” 

Furthermore, the platform “also integrates decades of operational experience at sea with cutting-edge AI” technology. “Nowhere else does a retired Rear Admiral brainstorm with London’s top talent in AI to create a robust maritime intelligence platform which fuses decades of seafaring experience and cutting-edge data analytics,” it says, adding that “the platform’s use of AI and ‘Explainable Artificial Intelligence’ is unique in delivering a set of explainable proposed actions in response to a given situation”. 

Noting that the platform is “already being used by a variety of different marine insurers”, the company reveals that discussions are also currently “underway with vessel owners and coastal security agencies”. Meanwhile, in terms of financing, SI reports that the first stage of its growth “has been funded by its founders with matched grant funding from the UK Government”. While “an initial collaboration with Kings College London was funded by Innovate UK”, the European Space Agency (ESA), it continues, has also “provided funding to demonstrate the value of satellite data within business applications”.

More information see https://www.siriusinsight.ai

About Author

Brian Dixon is a business and industry journalist with more than 20 years' experience writing about ports and logistics. A member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, he has covered stories on six continents. He divides his time between the UK and East Asia