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Orca AI Raises $23M for Autonomous Shipping

Orca AI proudly declares itself with a recent infusion of $23 million in funding, spearheaded by OCV & MizMaa Ventures
May 23, 2024

The world of autonomous driving isn't confined to roads anymore; it's making waves in the maritime industry too. Imagine ships navigating themselves, guided by AI, leading to substantial fuel and time savings. This burgeoning market, known as 'autonomous navigation,' is set to skyrocket from $4.46 billion in 2023 to a staggering $5.33 billion in 2024.

In the heart of this transformative movement lies Orca AI, a pioneering London-based startup. Claiming to power the world's maiden autonomous commercial ship voyage through congested waters, Orca AI has just secured a fresh infusion of $23 million in funding. Led by OCV Partners and MizMaa Ventures, this financing, positioned between a Series A and B round, catapults their total raised capital to nearly $40 million.

Founded in late 2018 by Israeli naval technology experts Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, Orca AI introduced its AI navigation technology commercially in 2021, coinciding with a $13 million Series A round. The recent funding boost will propel the startup's scaling efforts, expansion initiatives, and the development of new products, leveraging insights gleaned from client data. Additionally, it will facilitate the expansion of Orca AI's engineering team.

Orca AI's platform harnesses multiple sources of visual data during sea navigation, ensuring precise course-keeping and enabling crew members to focus on other critical voyage aspects, such as potential drone attacks or piracy threats. The startup's claims of effectiveness are substantial, with a reported 33% reduction in "close encounters in open waters" and a 40% decrease in "crossing events" across 15 million nautical miles during a 2023 trial.

Moreover, Orca AI asserts significant fuel savings per vessel annually, ranging from $100,000 to $300,000, with a corresponding reduction in fuel consumption by 3-5%. In terms of environmental impact, the technology purportedly achieved a CO2 reduction of 72,716 tonnes across 1,000 vessels last year alone.

As the shipping industry faces mounting pressure to minimize its carbon footprint, digitalization and AI applications emerge as pivotal solutions to enhance efficiency. With the potential for autonomous ships sailing sans crew looming on the horizon, Orca AI envisions optimizing voyages, streamlining fuel consumption, enhancing safety, and revolutionizing the industry with its cutting-edge platform.

Orca AI's cloud-based system not only provides real-time data uploads but also equips fleet managers with comprehensive monitoring tools, enabling seamless operations across entire fleets. With industry heavyweights like MSC, NYK, Maersk, and Seaspan in its client roster, Orca AI stands at the forefront of maritime innovation.

As Hemi Zucker, Managing Partner at OCV, aptly puts it, "While planes, trains, and automobiles have seen tremendous progress and investment in regards to autopilot and collision prevention, we believe that the shipping industry is still up for grabs, and there is a category-defining opportunity in autonomous ships — ships that captain themselves."

Indeed, Orca AI exemplifies the future of maritime navigation, charting a course towards safer, more efficient, and environmentally sustainable seas.

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