dotOcean: Belgische scale-up pioniert in autonoom varende schepen

Belgian scale-up pioneers autonomously sailing ships

(© Wim Decoo)

A ship that sails autonomously through the port of Antwerp to make soil maps, navy vessels that autonomously patrol the coast, radar systems that keep unwanted ships away from offshore wind farms: dotOcean’s technology makes it all possible. The tech scale-up from Bruges automates vessels and data processes to make shipping safer, more flexible and more productive.

  • How? Virya Energy as main shareholder and founders Koen Geirnaert, Sebastien Deprez, Peter Staelens
  • Since? 2008
  • Employees? 25

dotOcean works around two pillars, founder Koen Geirnaert explains. “Our SaaS platform collects and analyzes data both on board the vessel and from sensors ashore and that data enables a captain on a vessel or operators to make better and smarter decisions.”

“But we are also going a step further, by allowing vessels to sail completely autonomously and independently without people on board with limited outside intervention.”

Patrolling, fishing for litter and protecting and monitoring wind farms

“We focus on the smaller vessels,” says Geirnaert. “Not the large container ships or sea tankers, but the ships that sail in and around the ports. These can be patrol boats from the coast guard or port authorities, but also vessels that fish waste out of the water or vessels that capture data to prepare detailed hydrographic maps. These vessels often follow the same trajectory, always performing the same tasks along the way. That makes them perfectly suited for automation.”

“Offshore wind farms have also become an important target market. There, for example, our technology can monitor the environment and warn when unauthorized ships enter the area around the wind farms or ensure more efficient monitoring of subsea infrastructure such as cables and foundations. Belgian companies play a global pioneering role in offshore wind energy, there are still a lot of opportunities there.”

Data centric approach and swarm technology

dotOcean’s approach is data centric where vessels and sensors operate in the same network and share data. In this way, several vessels can be controlled in parallel to work on the same task. For example, for inspecting the bottom or for patrolling, large areas at sea must be scanned. This is done much more efficiently by having several vessels perform this task in parallel.

dotOcean has developed unique software to collectively control a swarm of vessels and/or by extension vehicles. Just as people progress faster when they work together, huge efficiency gains can be made when robots start working together.

Every week we present – in random order – a company from the list of 30 most innovative tech start-ups and scale-ups that Omar Mohout put together especially for Bloovi and which we Flanders Tech 30 baptized. These companies have already been discussed:

  1. D-CRBN
  2. Foodpairing
  3. SoundTalks
  4. Goodless
  5. Swimtraxx / Capetech
  6. Solergy
  7. IVEX
  8. IPEE
  10. Slimbox
  11. QelviQ
  12. CoMoveIT
  13. Moonbird
  14. Arani
  15. CADSkills
  16. Alberts
  17. Westray
  18. Urban Crop Solutions
  19. Tractonomy
  20. Bloomlife
  21. On-Hertz
  22. Magics Technologies
  23. dotOcean

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