Greek AI shipping startup acquired by Japanese automation giant

3 min read
Greek AI shipping startup acquired by Japanese automation giant

Greek shipping software startup DeepSea Technologies has sold a majority share to Japan’s automation giant Nabtesco for an undisclosed amount. 

DeepSea will continue to develop the company’s fuel optimisation platforms that reduce emissions (and cut costs) of fossil-based maritime fleets, while also becoming a “centre of excellence for AI research and product development.” Furthermore, the Athens-based startup will support Nabtesco Marine Control Systems in its quest for scalable semi-autonomous shipping. 

The company will continue to function (fittingly enough) autonomously, and carry on work on its two platforms — Cassandra and Pythia — and on “the broader digital transformation of the maritime industry.” 

Cassandra is a vessel monitoring and optimisation platform that allows customers to see emissions for a specific vessel and across an entire fleet, while also understanding how each component of the ship contributes to its performance. In addition, the tool offers notifications in real-time when something requires attention, such as fuel waste and maintenance requirements. 

Meanwhile, Pythia is a world-first weather routing platform, tailored to the exact performance of a specific ship. It comes up with tailor-made routes, speed and trim policies, assessing overall cost and CO2 emissions, while providing minute-by-minute updates on conditions. 

The company claims that it is possible to unlock energy efficiency improvements of up to 10% across almost any fleet in 12 months, using its optimisation technologies. 

Best of both worlds

DeepSea was founded in 2017 and has previously raised €8mn, five of which came from Nabtesco Technology Ventures in 2021. The company has offices in Athens, London, and Rotterdam, and employs over 70 specialised engineers, most in AI and software development. The two co-founders of DeepSea, Dr. Konstantinos Kyriakopoulos and Roberto Coustas, will continue on in their roles of CEO and President, respectively. 

“The deepening of our existing partnership with Nabtesco unlocks even greater potential for our technology and approach, and will be key to unlocking the next wave of innovation for our customers,” Kyriakopoulous stated when announcing the news last week.

“It’s truly the best of both worlds: DeepSea will maintain its startup culture and focus on disruptive technology, whilst harnessing all the expertise and support of a global powerhouse.”

Staying on top of CO2  emissions will become increasingly important for shipping companies worldwide. Not only from a “the world is burning, let’s get our act together” kind of perspective, but also from a business and regulatory point of view. 

Maritime carbon emissions regulations

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2022, maritime shipping accounted for about 2% of energy-related global CO2 emissions. While there is no legally binding agreement holding the industry to emission reduction targets, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a specialised agency of the UN, has adopted measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping. 

As stated in the latest version of the IMO’s GHG strategy from July 2023, it is now targeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Member states have agreed to “indicative checkpoints.” These include reducing total emissions by 20% and striving for 30% by 2030, with targets increased to 70% and 80% by 2040.

From 2024, shipping will also be included in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), which means that every kilogram of CO2 will be of financial — not to mention planetary — importance.

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