Maritime Minister Lord Davies has announced an 8 million GBP funding boost for organisations looking to advance the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in modern maritime technology.

The Smart Shipping Acceleration Fund looks to provide the necessary starting blocks to begin feasibility studies relating to the development of smart shipping technologies utilising AI & robotics, as well as autonomous vessels.

Organisations can apply for the Smart Shipping Acceleration Fund to use AI for projects that make UK waters safer, operations smoother and air cleaner


The scheme has been made possible by the wider 206 million GBP UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UKSHORE) programme, which was announced in early 2022.

Maritime Minister, Lord Davies, said:

Using AI and cutting-edge technology to make boats smarter and transform port operations is part of our plan to decarbonise shipping, enhance safety for our seafarers and help grow the economy.

AI has the potential to revolutionise the sector, create jobs and support the economy.

The competition’s announcement follows Lord Davies’ recent launch of a new bidding process for a series of studies aiming to determine the necessary infrastructure, cost and measures necessary for the implementation of decarbonised international shipping routes.

Successful organisations will also require match funding, with the competition set to be managed by delivery partner Innovate UK.

Mike Biddle, Executive Director for Net Zero at Innovate UK, said:

The UK is recognised as a global leader in digital technology and this new fund will enhance that reputation in the maritime sector too. Innovate UK are excited to see industry-led consortia pioneer smart shipping feasibility studies that will demonstrate a clear commercial pathway and positive environmental impact in the near future. This is the latest investment as part of our key partnership with DfT around the delivery of UK SHORE to boost innovation across the UK’s vibrant maritime sector.

Alongside this competition for business-led innovation funding, the complementary smart shipping community building programme led by Innovate UK Business Connect will provide a great opportunity for UK businesses to join a vibrant smart shipping network that’ll reach across the country.



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