All Posts By

Vincent Wegener

Project F.A.S.T. officially launched

On 17 November 2021, F.A.S.T. – Fieldlab Autonomous Sailing Technology was officially launched. A research project where Captain AI will play a leading role in integrating and testing our Captain AI Autopilot software on the patrol vessel provided by Damen Naval, part of Damen Shipyards. Over the next two years, Vlissingen harbour and the port of Rotterdam will be used as a testing ground for soon to be autonomous vessel. The project is a collaboration between various other parties, including the Province of Zeeland, Municipality of Vlissingen, HZ University of Applied Sciences, TU Delft, and local companies, such as Kloosterboer, Vlaeynatie and Zeeland Boten.

Project leader Jochem Nonhebel from Damen Naval proudly presented the main protagonist of the F.A.S.T. project: the Damen Polycat built at Damen in Hardinxveld-Giessendam in 1990. The vessel will be refurbished and converted in the coming months. The two diesel engines will be replaced by two electric engines that will be at least as powerful as the current ones. Cameras, sensors, radar, Lidar, GPS equipment, wind and speed gauges are also being installed; these will replace the eyes and ears of the helmsman.

“This project is just the beginning of much bigger developments. Ultimately, we want to develop this technology in such a way that we can also implement it on large ships. For example, automatically mooring a ship and avoiding objects,” said Jochem. “In a complex location such as here in Vlissingen’s inner harbour, you have to deal with large and small ships, swimmers and other water users. It’s not easy to identify all the objects in the water, especially for a computer, so we are going to add all kinds of technology to the boat. For safety reasons, there will always be someone on board to make sure that intervention can take place if necessary.”

The F.A.S.T. project received a grant of €1,174,846 from the European ERDF programme as part of the European Union’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The condition is that the project contributes to a green, digital and resilient recovery of the South of the Netherlands and that it stimulates innovation within the SME sector within the region. In addition, the project has also received contributions from the national government and the participating parties. Provincial Executive Harry van der Maas handed over the cheque for the European subsidy money to Jochem Nonhebel.

“I am proud to be able to hand over this cheque. The Province of Zeeland is very impressed with all the parties who are working on this ‘living lab’, this testing ground in the harbour of Vlissingen. A lot of energy has been put into it by all parties and I would particularly like to thank Damen as the main driving force behind the project,” said Mr Van der Maas.

Jochem concluded his presentation by saying, “This is the starting point of the project and we are proud to share it here. And of course we are curious to see where it will all lead, so we will keep everyone informed of developments on a regular basis.” The F.A.S.T. ship does not yet have a name. Therefore, together with the Zeeland ‘Huis van de Techniek’ [a local technical education development organisation], a contest is being held at primary schools in and around Vlissingen.

On the top image from left to right:
Joost van Damme (Onilio), Richard Keulen (Damen Naval), Micha Beckers (Hogeschool Zeeland), Vincent Wegener (Captain AI), Harry van der Maas (Executive member of the Province of Zeeland), Jochem Nonhebel (Damen Naval)

This article was originally posted on the Damen Naval website

A new intelligent Decision Support Tool for VTS Personnel

The Port of Rotterdam sees 1 million ship movements in their port every year and it is expected this number will increase significantly the coming years.

Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Personnel is responsible for the coordination of ships within the port. They work to avoid collisions or incidents by managing movements from a port control center. To help them meet this goal VTS Operators are well versed in the use of Vessel Traffic Management systems. However, current management systems still require a lot of manual input and experience from the VTS operator and with the increase of traffic going through the port, a new intelligent Decision Support Tool is needed to handle these events safely.

In this presentation for the IALA task group Decision Support Tools (DST) for VTS Personnel, Captain AI presented a novel approach in how to calculate and present Closest Point of Approach (CPA). All paths can be generated in real time with our path planning algorithm by knowing or predicting the destination of all the vessels. This makes it possible to calculate and predict possible collisions in time and gives the VTS operator sufficient time to intervene.

In the next phase we will integrate our solution with real time information from the Harbour Master Information System, with the end goal to enhance the situational awareness for the VTS operators and making shipping even more safe and efficient in the Port of Rotterdam.

The pilot project was developed on behalf of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.


First boat in the world that autonomously sails the most optimal route.

Rotterdam The Netherlands, September 21, 2020 – Maritime service provider KOTUG International, shipbuilding company Rotortug®, and tech start-up Captain AI today demonstrated the first boat in the world that autonomously sails the most optimal route without human intervention at the Smart Shipping event of the Netherlands Forum for Smart Shipping. A significant milestone on the road towards fully autonomous and sustainable sailing.

In collaboration with Captain AI, safe autonomous sailing with the Rotortug ® “RT Borkum was demonstrated on the river Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam with the use of the Captain AI Route Planner and Autopilot. “The route planner can be seen as the Google Maps for waterways,” says Vincent Wegener of Captain AI. “It draws out the route, which the boat follows autonomously using our autopilot software.”

To plan this route as efficiently as possible, Captain AI’s software is connected to the KOTUG Optiport dispatch planning software, enabling optimized route planning in real-time, based on AIS data and Artificial Intelligence.

Patrick Everts of KOTUG: “The digital captain has to know what the vessel’s destination is and how to get there in the most efficient way. Linking Captain AI’s software to OptiPort is not only making the skipper’s life easier because vessels can autonomously navigate the optimal route, but is also saving on fuel and CO2 emissions”.

The “RT Borkum” has undergone several successful operational tests already in the busiest port of Europe, proving the combination of autonomous planning and autonomous sailing in practice for the first time.

KOTUG International and Captain AI have entered into a partnership to further develop and commercialize the software. The next step is making the software suitable for large-scale applications and to explore matters such as safety and legislation together with the users and legislators.

Captain AI Route Planner: the Google Maps for the waterways

We’re all used to having the world map in our pocket with apps like Google Maps and getting from A to B with a press of a button. Thanks to these developments over the last two decades autonomous car companies have been able to just plug into this widely available data and integrate it in their software to direct their autonomous cars to their destination.

The state of the art of route planning for ships

For autonomous vessels this is a different story. There is simply no Google Maps for the water where you can tap into. The current state of the art is either by setting waypoints or having route planners that are not accurate; for instance they take the middle of a waterway or go over land.

Captain AI Route Planner; a crucial building block to get to full autonomy

Therefore we’ve created Captain AI Route Planner; our Google Maps for the waterways. Based on historical AIS data we are able to not only extract highly accurate routes, but also to calculate the most optimal route. As you can see in the GIF below we also take into account the direction we’re going.

Autonomous shipping

We use the created route as input for Captain AI Autopilot (see previous posts here and here), together with obstacle detection and avoidance Captain AI Route Planner is a critical building block to achieve full autonomy. More features will be build in the Route Planner the coming months such as velocity and type of vessel.

Curious how what our solutions can do for your business? Contact us!

Captain AI continues pushing the development of autonomous shipping in times of corona virus

Captain AI continues pushing the development of autonomous shipping even in times of quarantine due to the corona virus.

In this video we show the automated connection between harbor dispatching and operations software and Captain AI’s Autopilot. Making live easier for both the planner and captain.

Optimized scheduling of the vessels is done by the planning software and routes are automatically generated by Captain AI, comparable to a Google Maps for waterways.

On the vessel the captain will get a notification with the suggested route and can choose to accept it. The captain can then engage Autopilot and from that point on Captain AI’s software will autonomously sail to its destination avoiding obstacles along the way.

Due to the quarantine we currently do not have access to the RT Borkum from Kotug, but we do have access to the virtual vessel in Nautis, a maritime simulator from our investor Vstep. Thanks to the physics engine the virtual vessel acts and reacts similar to the real vessel.

Atlantis is our visualisation tool, showing the captain what route the vessel is following and what objects are detected. New routes are calculated in real time to avoid these obstacles.

The software we are using in the simulator is exactly the same as we would use it on the real vessel. The simulator is therefore a perfect tool to continue development from our homes until we can get back to testing in the real world!

Gerard Kruisheer on the CTOcast

Recently Gerard Kruisheer was interviewed by the CTOcast.

Listen to the podcast if you want to know more about
– How Captain AI started
– What are autonomous vessels
– Which sensors are used at self-driving ships
– How Captains use Captain AI on their boats
– How innovative is a maritime industry
– Future of autonomous vessel

Captain AI partner in Holland Robotics Inspectie & Maintenance

Captain AI is partner in het project Holland Robotics Inspectie & Maintenance onderdeel van Holland Robotics een landelijke roboticabeweging, die ervoor gaat zorgen dat de roboticakennis in Nederland maximaal wordt benut. Captain AI zal haar kennis rondom autonoom varen inzetten voor de verdere ontwikkeling van gerobotiseerde haveninspectie en -onderhoud.

De maatschappij verandert in een rap tempo. De eisen op het gebied van duurzaamheid, ergonomisch- en veilig werken nemen steeds meer toe. De steeds extremere werkomstandigheden waarin inspectie en maintenance plaatsvindt enerzijds en de vergrijzing en het toenemende personeelstekort anderzijds heeft meer en meer impact op bedrijven. Dit vraagt om een andere manier van werken waarbij de inzet van robotica essentieel zal zijn in de toekomst.

Holland Robotics is daarom een het project Holland Robotics Inspectie & Maintanance gestart. In dit projecten gaan ondernemingen uit de roboticasector, diverse en diverse opleidings- en kennisinstellingen intensief samenwerken om gezamenlijk demo- en technologieoplossingen te ontwikkelen voor de inspectie & maintenancesector.

Samen bouwen
Het project is niet alleen gericht op de ontwikkeling van nieuwe roboticatechnologie en -toepassingen. Ook het vormen van een sterke roboticacommunity behoort tot de projectdoelen, zodat Nederland in de toekomt een rol op wereldniveau gaat en blijft spelen op het gebied van robotica.

Het project wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door financiële ondersteuning van de Europese Unie (Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling), OP-Zuid, Provincie Noord Brabant en Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat.

Captain AI receives funding from Citylab010

December 2019 – Captain AI has received €121.000 in funding from Citylab010, an initiative from the municipality of Rotterdam to support innovative and fresh ideas that benefit the city and its citizens. Out of 300 initiatives only 34 were selected by the jury.

Captain AI’s initiative aims to put Rotterdam on the map as the European hotspot for autonomous shipping. The jury specifically appreciated that Rotterdam based companies such as Watertaxi Rotterdam, Kotug, Port of Rotterdam, Vstep and Post & Co and KPN are already proactively involved in realising this vision together with Captain AI. Also the link with educating students from Rotterdam about the future of shipping was considered a plus. Earlier this year Captain AI raised funding from UNIIQ.

Captain AI ontvangt UNIIQ-investering voor ontwikkeling autonoom varen

V.l.n.r. rij 1:Paul Smits (oud CFO Havenbedrijf Rotterdam), Vincent Wegener (Captain AI), Liduina Hammer (UNIIQ) en Duko Drijfhout (UNIIQ/EMC) V.l.n.r. rij 2 Captian AI en investeerders

Rotterdam, 4 juli 2019 – Captain AI, ontwikkelaar van software om veilig autonoom te kunnen varen, ontvangt een investering van € 300.000 van investeringsfonds UNIIQ voor de verdere ontwikkeling van de eerste volledig autonome schepen. De investering werd bekendgemaakt door Paul Smits, oud CFO Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, tijdens het Future Flux Festival.

Autonoom op het water

De toenemende drukte binnen havens en de moeite bij het vinden van voldoende gekwalificeerd scheepvaartpersoneel, vormen een belangrijke uitdaging voor veel havens en schipeigenaren. Captain AI speelt hierop in door het ontwikkelen van software om veilig autonoom te kunnen varen. Door gebruik te maken van simulatiesoftware en Artificial Intelligence (AI), kan Captain AI aan miljoenen gecompliceerde situaties worden onderworpen. Hierdoor leert de software zichzelf om de juiste beslissing te nemen. Captain AI zal met deze software uiteindelijk een aanzienlijk veiligere omgeving te creëren op het water waar op dit moment meer dan 75% van de ongelukken veroorzaakt wordt door een menselijke fout.

Eerste testen met volledig autonoom schip

Captain AI is opgericht in 2018 door Vincent Wegener, Gerard Simons, Gerard Kruisheer en Niels Stamhuis en heeft al investeringen ontvangen van Vstep en Post & Co, twee Rotterdamse bedrijven actief in respectievelijk maritieme simulatoren software en maritieme verzekeringen. De eerste testen worden momenteel uitgevoerd op het Floating Lab van het Havenbedrijf Rotterdam. Vincent Wegener, CEO Captain AI: “Door de investering van UNIIQ wordt het mogelijk om voor het eerst een schip volledig autonoom te laten varen in een testomgeving in de Rotterdamse Haven. Het is van belang om te kunnen laten zien dat onze algoritmes beslissingen net zo goed, zo niet beter, neemt als een menselijke kapitein”.

Investeren in innovatie in de Rotterdamse haven

Voor UNIIQ is dit de eerste investering in de havensector. Fondsmanager Liduina Hammer: “De zeehaven van Rotterdam is niet alleen de grootste van Europa, maar ook toonaangevend op het gebied van innovatie. Wij zijn trots om in de samenwerking tussen Rotterdamse partijen zoals het Havenbedrijf, VSTEP, Post & Co en Captain AI te kunnen investeren. Met deze investering in het team van Captain AI hopen wij bij te kunnen dragen aan de toekomst van de scheepvaart in het algemeen en aan de toekomst van de Rotterdamse haven in het bijzonder”.

Over Captain AI

Captain AI, gevestigd in de haven van Rotterdam, de grootste en drukste haven van Europa, ontwikkelt ‘s werelds eerste veilige en volledig autonome scheepvaart oplossing, gebruikmakend van zeer betrouwbare simulaties, innovatieve sensoren en de nieuwste deep-learning technieken.


UNIIQ is een investeringsfonds van € 22 mln. gericht op de proof-of-concept fase. UNIIQ helpt ondernemers in Zuid-Holland om hun unieke innovatie sneller naar de markt te brengen. Wij bieden ondernemers het startkapitaal om hun plannen te realiseren en de meest risicovolle fase van concept tot veelbelovend bedrijf te overbruggen.

Het fonds is opgericht door een consortium bestaande uit Erasmus MC, TU Delft, Universiteit Leiden en de regionale ontwikkelingsmaatschappij InnovationQuarter. UNIIQ is mede mogelijk gemaakt door de Europese Unie, de provincie Zuid-Holland en de gemeenten Rotterdam, Den Haag en Leiden. Het fondsmanagement van UNIIQ is belegd bij InnovationQuarter.

Captain AI in the news & winner Innovation Funding Award of Amsterdam 2018!

Last week we presented Captain AI to the public at the Innovation Expo 2018. We got some nice coverage of our plans and our collaboration in the national news:
– NOS – Haven Rotterdam bereidt zich voor op zelfvarende schepen
– Trouw – Kapiteinloze schepen in Rotterdam: over een jaar moet het kunnen
– Maritiem Nieuws – Rotterdamse haven bereidt zich voor op autonoom varen

We are also proud to announce that Captain AI won the Innovation Funding Award with a price of €42.000 worth of marketing material!

Captain AI will make safe autonomous shipping a reality

Captain AI will make safe autonomous shipping a reality
The startup will work closely together with key partners in the port of Rotterdam to make it happen

Today Captain AI announced that they are pioneering an autonomous shipping solution based on state of the art deep learning algorithms. The company will work closely together with the Port of Rotterdam Authority in a pilot project to make a safe and reliable system operational on their RPA vessel.

“Autonomous shipping will revolutionize the shipping and port related industries” says Captain AI co-founder and CEO Vincent Wegener “Currently more than 75% of marine casualties are due to human error, autonomous shipping will significantly reduce these errors. Additionally, the economics of autonomous shipping are clear; the crew makes up 10% to 30% of the total shipping costs. Reducing these costs will make the shipping industry more efficient.”

“Our approach makes use of the latest AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms such as deep reinforcement learning, making it possible to safely navigate the waterways of any port in any weather condition“ says Captain AI co-founder and CTO Gerard Kruisheer. “We train our AI in the certified simulator of VSTEP, just like you would train a human captain, before we start operating on a vessel in the real world. The big advantage of training in the simulator is that we can train faster and gain more experience than a human captain can achieve during his lifetime.”

Backed by investors with a reputable track record in the maritime sector
Captain AI is backed by two reputable investors with a long history in the maritime sector; VSTEP, which makes leading solutions for simulation and virtual training and Post & Co, an independent marine and logistics insurance specialist.

“Our certified Nautis simulation software is on the cutting edge of high resolution simulation, making the images almost indistinguishable from reality” says VSTEP owner and CEO Henk van den Berg. “Autonomous shipping is the future and with our investment in Captain AI we will be part of that future.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that autonomous shipping will impact the insurance industry” says Post & Co owner and CEO Roderick Post “With over 75 years of experience in the market we want to stay on the forefront of the latest developments. With our investment in Captain AI we have front row seats.”

Captain AI team with investors Post & Co and VSTEP on the RPA3 from the Port of Rotterdam

Pilot with the Port of Rotterdam Authority
The Port of Rotterdam has made a commitment to the application and development of Smart Shipping. The RPA vessel, project name ‘The Floating Lab Rotterdam’, is a platform made available by the Port Authority in order to stimulate Smart Shipping innovations in the maritime sector.

“As the Port Authority we ask ourselves the question; how can we, as Port Authority, prepare the Port of Rotterdam to really welcome the ships of the future and keep the operation smooth, smart and safe for everybody” says nautical innovation adviser at the Port of Rotterdam Harmen van Dorsser “We want to create partnerships with companies interested in autonomous shipping and therefore we are excited about the vision of Captain AI and are looking forward to working with them in this pilot.”

The RPA vessel will be used by Captain AI under supervision of the Port Authority to test sensors, algorithms and other equipment.

Captain AI is hiring for positions in its Rotterdam based headquarters.

About Captain AI
Located in the Port of Rotterdam, the largest and busiest port of Europe, Captain AI is developing the world’s first safe and fully autonomous shipping solution using high-fidelity simulation, cutting-edge sensors and state-of-the-art deep learning techniques. For more information, see

About Post & Co
Post & Co is the independent partner for Marine Liability and Logistics insurances for all players in the logistical chain, such as Ship Owners and Charterers, Terminal and Transport Operators, NVOCC’s, Transport Intermediaries and Port Authorities. Post & Co is based in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Frankfurt and Seoul and was founded in 1941. Currently the 4th generation is at the helm of this family business. For more information, see

VSTEP makes leading solutions for simulation and virtual training. Vstep’s state-of-the-art class certified products allow users to train their skills for every scenario possible in a practical, cost-effective and sustainable way. VSTEP is based in Rotterdam and was founded in 2001. For more information, see

About the Port of Rotterdam Authority
The port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest sea port. The port owes its leading position to its outstanding accessibility for sea-going vessels. And to its intermodal connections and the 180,000 people working in and for Rotterdam’s port and industrial area. A place where unlimited ambitions can become reality.

The objective of the Port of Rotterdam Authority is to enhance the port’s competitive position as a logistics hub and world-class industrial complex. Not only in terms of size, but also with regard to quality. The core tasks of the Port Authority are to develop, manage and exploit the port in a sustainable way and to render speedy and safe services for shipping.