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Rolls-Royce partners with Google on autonomous ships

The aerospace and maritime engineering company signed a deal Wednesday with Google to further develop its intelligent awareness systems for self-driving ocean vessels.

   Aerospace and maritime engineering company Rolls-Royce inked a deal with Google Wednesday to further develop its intelligent awareness systems for autonomous ocean vessels.
   Rolls-Royce said its intelligent awareness systems are making existing vessels safer and are essential to making autonomous ships a reality.
   The new deal allows Rolls-Royce to use Google’s Cloud Machine Learning Engine to further train the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) based object classification system for detecting, identifying and tracking the objects a vessel could encounter at sea, Rolls-Royce said.
   The Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine utilizes the same neural net-based machine intelligence software, which powers various Google products, such as image and voice search.
   Rolls-Royce will use Google Cloud’s software to develop bespoke machine learning models, which it said can interpret large and diverse marine date sets created by Rolls-Royce.
   “By accessing this software through the Cloud, the models can be developed from anywhere in the world and are immediately accessible globally allowing thousands of users,” the company said. “Models can therefore be trained on large quantities (terabytes) of data. This will be essential as autonomous ships become commonplace.”
   Looking ahead, Rolls-Royce and Google plan on undertaking joint research on unsupervised and multimodal learning. In addition, they will test whether speech recognition and synthesis are viable solutions for human-marine interfaces in marine applications, and will also work on optimizing the performance of local neural network computing onboard ships using open source machine intelligence software libraries.

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