Tel Aviv-based ship navigation and collision avoidance system Orca AI has raised €10.8 million in a Series A round.

The round was led by OCV Partners with Mizmaa Ventures and Playfair Capital also participating. OCV Partners principal Zohar Loshitzer will join Orca AI’s board as part of the deal.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I found last month’s Evergreen/Suez Canal situation gripping. I know this is my “stay at home, save lives” mind talking here, but if nothing else, the sheer mountain of memes it provided was worth the price alone.

And we’re all amazing armchair captains until it comes time to try your hand at navigating one of the world’s most trafficked waterways yourself. Thanks for this CNN.

Of some approximately 4000 marine incidents that occur annually, 75-96% of all collisions happen due to human error. So with all of our technological advancements, why is this still happening? This is exactly the problem that Orca AI is out to solve.

Already trusted by a number of major shipping and oil companies including Kirby, Ray Car Carriers, and NYK (I’m looking at you Evergreen), Orca AI augments a vessel’s existing onboard sensors with vision sensors, thermal and low light cameras. 

And for the secret sauce: Orca AI provides a, you guessed it, AI-powered algorithm that is constantly analysing the surrounding environment and alerting crew members to dangerous situations. Likewise, acting as a black box, the data collected throughout a ship’s journey provides valuable insights to shipping and insurance companies alike.

“The maritime industry has come leaps and bounds in recent years, but is still far behind aviation with technological innovations. Ships deal with increasingly congested waterways, severe weather and low-visibility conditions creating difficult navigation experiences with often expensive cargo. The recent events in the Suez Canal have created more attention than ever on the maritime industry, highlighting its importance to us all. Our solution provides unique insight and data to any ship in the world, helping to reduce these challenging situations and collisions in the future,” comments Orca AI CEO and co-founder Yarden Gross.

From the details provided, it would appear that Orca AI is currently focusing on commercial and large vessels for now, but you have to wonder if the same technology won’t find its way down to pleasurecraft sooner than later. 

As we reported just a few weeks back, Stockholm-based X Shore is already exploring auto-docking technology, and integrating with Orca AI could be a sensible leap to a fully autonomous marine experience.

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