Creating Intelligent Vessels through Autonomous Integration


Published On: January 18, 2024

Background and Challenge

Canada’s marine sector has placed a growing demand for greater efficiency, sustainability, and safety; igniting strong stakeholder interest in marine autonomous surface systems (MASS) and its regulatory impacts. As a Canadian leader in marine autonomous technology, Marine Thinking was awarded a contract by Innovative Solutions Canada and the National Research Council Canada (NRC) to supply a dependable autonomous vessel for research, testing, and assessment.


In March 2023, Marine Thinking delivered an all-electric autonomous rigid inflatable boat (RIB) that can seamlessly switch between manual steering, remote control, and autopilot navigation.

At the helm of the transformation is Marine Tensor™, the company’s AI-driven control and communication system. Marine Thinking’s integration process offers a tangible and cost-effective path for companies to enhance their vessels with intelligent performance across several key functions:

Navigation — for remote and autonomous control

Whether conducting a routine or time sensitive task, the operational flexibility offered by Marine Tensor™ creates greater mission efficiency and safety for personnel.

Edge AI Computing — for real-time decision-making

Adapting to ever-changing conditions , Marine Tensor™ processes multi-sensor data in real-time to maintain full situational awareness.

Networking — for global connectivity

Multi-tier communication creates a “tetherless” mission environment, allowing operators to collaborate and manage the vessel in real-time through multiple platforms:

  • Handheld Controller
  • Laptop
  • Offsite Operations Centre


NRC’s Evaluation Team placed autonomous RIB through a series of comprehensive and stringent field tests at its Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre (OCRE). Subject to a diverse range of scenarios and conditions, the RIB successfully satisfied all objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) set by NRC.

The all-electric build design provides a zero-emission solution that can run continuously for eight hours* on a single charge. Furthermore, the processing power of Marine Tensor™ is incredibly energy efficient, using less than 120 watts of electricity. This combination provides a viable, future-forward solution for net-zero planning, reducing more than four tons of greenhouse gas emission per year. **

*Based on an average navigation speed of four knots.

**Electric vs. weekly average gasoline (marine unleaded 89)
consumption of 30 liters.

Project Details

Featured Technology:

Innovative Solutions Canada and the National Research Council Canada (NRC) project challenge successfully completed using the following technology: