SEA.AI Navigates the Future With AI at the Helm

Talk about commitment. When startup SEA.AI, an NVIDIA Metropolis partner, set out to create a system that would use AI to scan the seas to enhance maritime safety, entrepreneur Raphael Biancale wasn’t afraid to take the plunge. He donned a lifejacket and jumped into the ocean.

It’s a move that demonstrates Biancale’s commitment and pioneering approach. The startup, founded in 2018 and based in Linz, Austria, with subsidiaries in France, Portugal and the US, had to build its first-of-its-kind training data from scratch in order to train an AI to help oceangoers of all kinds scan the seas.

And to do that, the company needed photos of what a person in the water looked like. That’s when Biancale, now the company’s head of research, walked the plank.

The company has come a long way since then, with a full product line powered by NVIDIA AI technology that lets commercial and recreational sailors detect objects on the seas, whether potential hazards or people needing rescue.

It’s an effort inspired by Biancale’s experience on a night sail. The lack of visibility and situational awareness illuminated the pressing need for advanced safety technologies in the maritime world that AI is bringing to the automotive industry.

AI, of course, is finding its way into all things aquatic. Startup Saildrone’s autonomous sailing vessels can help conduct data-gathering for science, fisheries, weather forecasting, ocean mapping and maritime security. Other researchers are using AI to interpret whale songs and even protect beachgoers from dangerous rip currents.

SEA.AI, however, promises to make the seas safer for everyone who steps aboard a boat. First introduced for ocean racing sailboats, SEA.AI’s system has quickly evolved into an AI-powered situational awareness system that can be deployed on everything from recreational sail and powerboats to commercial shipping vessels.

SEA.AI directly addresses one of the most significant risks for all these vessels: collisions. Thanks to SEA.AI, commercial and recreational oceangoers worldwide can travel with more confidence.

How SEA.AI Works

At the heart of SEA.AI’s approach is a proprietary database of over 9 million annotated marine objects which is growing constantly.

When combined with high-tech optical sensors and the latest AI technology from NVIDIA, SEA.AI’s systems can recognize and classify objects in real-time, significantly improving maritime safety.

SEA.AI technology can detect a person in water up to 700 meters — almost half a mile — away, a dinghy up to 3,000 meters, and motorboats up to 7,500 meters.

This capability ensures maritime operators can identify hazards before they pose a threat. It complements older marine safety systems that rely on radar and satellite signals.

SEA.AI solutions integrate with central marine display units from industry-leading manufacturers like Raymarine, B&G, Garmin and Furuno as well as Android and iOS-based mobile devices. This provides broad applicability across the maritime sector, from recreational vessels to commercial and government ships.

The NVIDIA Jetson edge AI platform is integral to SEA.AI’s success. The platform for robotics and embedded computing applications enables SEA.AI products to achieve unparalleled processing power and efficiency, setting a new standard in maritime safety by quickly detecting, analyzing and alerting operators to objects.

AI Integration and Real-Time Object Detection

SEA.AI uses NVIDIA’s AI and machine vision technology to offer real-time object detection and classification, providing maritime operators with immediate identification of potential hazards.

SEA.AI is bringing its approach to oceangoers of all kinds with three product lines.

One, SEA.AI Sentry, provides 360-degree situational awareness for commercial vessels and motor yachts with features like collision avoidance, object tracking and perimeter surveillance.

Another, SEA.AI Offshore,  provides bluewater sailors with high-tech safety and convenience with simplified installation across several editions that can suit different detection and technical needs.

The third, SEA.AI Competition, offers reliable object detection for ocean racing and performance yacht sailors. Its ultra-lightweight design ensures maximum performance when navigating at high speeds.

With a growing team of more than 60 and a distribution network spanning over 40 countries, SEA.AI is charting a course to help ensure every journey on the waves is safer.

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