Automatic identification and tracking of vehicles and cargo with increased fire risk

Stena Line open innovation challenge

We are seeking novel approaches to identify vehicles and cargo containers with increased fire risk as they board vessels such as ferries and roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) cargo ships.  We would also like to track where on the vessel these vehicles/containers are parked.

What's the challenge? 

The companies comprising the Swedish-based Stena Sphere represent one of the largest private shipping groups in the world. We are seeking solutions that can be applied to cargo and passenger ships that travel in all of the world’s oceans.

The majority of fires that break out onboard vessels start in the cargo. Further on, it has been identified that certain cargo units have a higher fire risk. These units are defined as High Risk Cargo (HRC). Typical HRC units are refrigerated trailers, electrical cars, gas cars, mobile homes, etc.

Today HRC is identified either manually or by existing booking system.  However, there is no means of tracking the final position of the cargo when parked on board in the cargo space. We are seeking a reliable and cost effective way to automatically identify and track these HRC units.

Do you have the solution?

Stena has investigated a number potential approaches to address elements of this challenge, and is now seeking an integrated approach to vehicle identification and tracking.  These approaches include:

  • Using video recognition software to track units (analogous to facial recognition software that is nearly ubiquitous in Social Media applications)
  • Remotely reading Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) to determine vehicle types (e.g., gas vs. electric cars)
  • Using low cost tracking chips (RFID) or similar means to track cargo units
  • Use and integrate cargo owners database systems

In the ideal case, we would like to integrate this system with our existing booking system and vehicle loading plan system onboard.  We would need to be able to track the cargo units even when their registration number and VIN is not readily visible.

Evaluation criteria

Technical viability - Solutions proposed must be based on sound scientific principles and have laboratory or pilot scale data that demonstrate efficacy.

Scale-up potential - Solutions proposed must have a clear pathway to be application on commercial ships. Solutions already practiced in marine markets have higher value. The ideal partner would be able to lead the design and installation of full-scale systems.

Costs - Solutions would need to be reasonably cost effective to install and operate. Moreover, solutions should not require additional staffing or increase port turnaround time.  

Ownership - Solutions covered by patents have higher value. At a minimum, proposed solutions must not be prohibited by other patents in the field.

Killer issues - Solutions will not be considered if, in Stena’s opinion:

  • Installation and maintenance costs should not be prohibitive for broad application
  • Proposals lack sufficient supporting laboratory or pilot scale data
  • Solutions don’t adhere to global maritime regulations

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