Current procedures for preventing ship fires include extinguishers, rules forbidding smoking on board and visual inspection. Crews need to patrol and check for smoke every 30 minutes in all ship areas.
This method is not accurate at detecting container fires, and even when detected, important time is spent on finding where the fire originated from.
Statistics show a fire takes place on a ship every 60 days, and this has increased to every 30 days this year. Recent major fires include Grande America, Yantian Express, APL Vancouver, Grande America, ER Kobe and KMTC Hong Kong only in 2019.
A fire means a large repair bill and ship downtime, the average loss per fire is €20 M, or €120 M/year to the shipping industry. 13% of shipping losses are due to fire incidents, the second biggest cause after machine breakdown. In addition, insurance costs add up to €450 M/yr, for a total size of €570 M/year for this problem.
Upteko created beacons for the drone to position itself over the ship during situational awareness and docking. With the push of more beacons for larger ships, and one beacon for smaller ships, the drone will position itself over the beacon and use the thermal sensor to make a heat map of the ship. If any abnormal heat signatures are present, the system will give an alarm to the bridge, that an area is hotter than what it is normally. It is then possible to see on the live heatmap, where the heat is located so inspection can be made in the correct area.
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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 876557
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