Automated route optimization

Route optimisation in use already today leads to significant fuel savings. With the weather-dependent energy saving technologies developed in project CHEK, the importance of automated route optimization is further amplified.

The automated routing assistance tool ensures that the vessel’s voyage is optimised to maximise the contribution from wind, currents, taking into account weather conditions and effectiveness of sails. The system also takes into account navigational safety, including charts, databases related to geospatial information, AIS traffic information and dangerous weather conditions such as icebergs or hurricanes.


CHEK project is about decarbonizing long distance shipping. This is achieved by considering and optimizing simultaneously the ship operations, ship parameters and fundamental design and the various technologies and fuel alternatives. The synthesis is achieved by creating digital models of the ships to be optimized in various generations and validation using real data as comparison. As a starting point for the development of operational technologies, initial numerical models of the CHEK concept vessels Meraviglia and Kamsarmax have been developed and verified against measured operating data. Project CHEK technologies evaluated using a linear model are confirming the validity of the Digital Thread. The digital thread that will be used by other deliveries of the project is confirmed to be aligned with historical data and the baseline used as reference. For cruise ship a specific update of the digital thread will be implemented using the simulation of the installation of hydrogen fuelled engines. Project CHEK technologies evaluated using a linear model are confirming that specific focus on itinerary optimisation and operational efficiency must be taken in consideration to grant way forward to decarbonisation, as suggested by IMO. The mathematical approach to such a wide and unexplored conglomeration of data will result in a system that will be able to balance all the various aspect of an Itinerary planning process and will produce on optimized itinerary that, besides being balanced, will be reducing CO2 emission.

The main goal of this innovation is to develop a system that will support the automated route optimization for both conventional motor and sail-assisted vessels, integrating the route optimization activities into fleet management processes. The model for sail-assisted vessel considers the effect of sails during voyage optimization, so that route will avoid head-on winds and deviate towards favorable winds. Such system has been implemented and integrated into existing infrastructure of Wärtsilä’s fleet management solutions. The system covers full cycle of voyage planning and data collection required for such planning, and can be interfaced to the ship’s navigational system. Due to the lack of sea trials data suitable for model calibration, the optimization parameters were taken from previous results of project CHEK. To validate and enhance the data, additional real-time model has been developed. This model can be used not only to validate optimization results, but also for crew training and for live demonstrations in navigational simulators. This report also provides basic information about route optimization algorithms and modelling, as well as describes protentional use of such models in training and demonstrational purposes. It also provides examples how the developed tool can be used to plan and optimize voyages for cruise ship and bulker. The implemented system allows further steps towards integration and sea trials.

Given the CHEK technologies applied to the baseline of CHEK Project, planning is one of the main constraints related to emissions reduction. A good Itinerary, to be considered as such, must balance nautical, engineering, and Commercial / Business factors. As today a complete system that gathers all these variables together, values them, compares them, and gives as an outcome a result that identify and weight the proficiency; in all the above-mentioned aspects, of an itinerary, does not exist as single entity. This is causing operational issues to the ship Owners / ship Operators, and the risk of creating itineraries viable from the commercial point of view but not fully compliance with emissions targets and related operational indexes is realistic and must be mitigated. The objective is to mitigate this risk, by creating and integrating with systems onboard a tool based on an algorithm that will be able to evaluate a mathematical ship model and to proceed with a process to calculate the optimal itinerary from a holistic point of view. The first part of this work focuses on the integration of the tool with the route planning existing onboard the vessel. The proof of concept is provided through practical case. The report proves the integration of the cruise itinerary optimisation tool into the cruise navigation system through the route planning system. Whilst the first step was the tool proof of concept including integration with other systems, the functionality of the tool itself will be addressed in upcoming CHEK reports.

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