Knowledge of water depth is critical for shipping ports: a basic service that ensures their customers are safe entering and exiting and key to maintaining maximum capacity in the port.
“Ports have been using the same method to measure sediment accumulation in the bottom of their ships for centuries with a dipstick measuring how much space there is for berthing,” according to Steven Adler, former IBM chief data strategist, founder of Ocean Data Alliance, and currently an adviser to DockTech.
DockTech, an Israeli start-up, is a water-depth analysis platform for ports and waterways, which offers a real-time view of berths and water channels as well as pattern recognition-based predictions. It creates a real-time water-depth display by combining survey data with onboard depth data from connected in-port vessels such as tugs, pilot boats, and patrol vessels.
The solution is based on connecting every echo-sounder-carrying service vessel to a cloud-based data analytics service, collecting and combining depth data, and processing with image processing and AI algorithms.
By gathering millions of data samples from such different vessels, DockTech is able to detect patterns of change and predict how the bottom will look in the near future. With its comprehensive prediction platform, DockTech can lower dredging costs by as much as 10–15% and reduce emergency procedures by more than 90%.
“From the accumulated data used on a daily basis, instantaneous surveys of sediment accumulation in the ports, a three-dimensional map of the port, and all the spaces can identify exactly how much space there is that would improve the efficiency of the ports, cut down on carbon emissions, and fuel costs,” explained Adler.
Uri Yoselevich, CEO of DockTech, believes that its concept of data analytics is the best way to get depth assurance. Moreover, the company considers a model where the platform and data are available to all contributors. “Thus, if you share your own vessel data, you would also get access to all the shared depth data. This makes the approach unique and gives incentives for vessel owners to contribute, and thereby, making the data more reliable,” he said.
This will also allow issues to be discovered earlier, giving the port the ability to adjust its safety margins according to real-time requirements. “With our pattern-detection techniques, we enable the port to foresee changes in advance, thus reduce emergency processes,” he explained.