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Mengi-Yay reveal their plans for an autonomous future

Ramazan Mengi speaks with SuperyachtNews about the shipyards aspirations over the next 10 years…

Ramazan Mengi, part of the third generation of the Mengi Yay dynasty, has revealed a plethora of bold and inspiring aspirations for where he would like the company to be in the next ten years. Although the Mengi family have their DNA woven into the fabric of Turkey's rich history of boat building, the focus is very much on the future of the superyacht new build sector, and their role in it. The young Project Manager, who specialises in engineering, has spent his childhood admiring the work of generations before him, his teenage years learning the craft of yacht building with hands-on experience, and now, as a young adult, he is building the foundations of a truly future-proof shipyard.

The first plan of action is to focus on making the entire fleet fully electric. This goal is to be achieved through measured steps carried out over the next ten years. Currently, all the yachts they are building will feature a silent mode, which means the hotel load will run solely on electric power. The shipyard believes the next step is to introduce cost-effective hybrid propulsion for the future fleet of yachts that will be in the 60m-80m segment. This will allow owners and guests the ability to cruise in environmentally restricted zones without burning any fossil fuels. Finally, the end goal is to have a fleet of fully-electric superyachts - but they admit that this will take time. For now, the team are focused on pushing the limits of the engine room to incorporate the most efficient lithium batteries, without drastically reducing guest space. 

 
 
 
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Mengi explained, “The electrification plan needs to be implemented in a proper way without affecting the build time, maintenance and budget. It needs to be financially feasible. So we need to have a really good proposal in place for not just our current clients, but for all future clients who want to have all the options available from a fully customisable builder.”

The second major focus for the shipyard, and specifically for Ramazan, is to pioneer autonomous superyachts. “We are now installing a variety of sensors and cameras on our yachts and with that, we're just going to emit data until we can finally successfully run a simulation in an artificial environment. Once we have that simulation we're going to do some tests on our prototype, which is a 26-metre prototype - that's what they're currently using to test the new innovative technologies. And so we are certainly working on autonomous cruising - and it's drawing a lot of our budget as well because artificial intelligence engineers are really expensive.”

 
 
 
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AI integration, much like electric propulsion, isn’t something that is going to happen overnight. The short-term aim for Mengi Yay is to perfect image recognition technology. With this system, the camera on board will be able to identify objects in the water and alert the crew and/or guests to anything that might be a threat. This then integrates with the radar to identify moving objects that are further away. In the long term, it will be so sophisticated that it will replace the roles of crew members, and it will take on many of the dangerous and difficult tasks that are currently at the peril of human error.

Mengi continues, “We are taking small steps, but let's just look at dynamic positioning systems. This system is quite expensive for yachts and they tend to charge you monthly, and they tend to charge you a lot. So with a system like this, we can remove that ongoing cost. These are just some of the small technological movements that will eventually take off.”

 
 
 
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The industry speaks loudly and often about visions and aspirations for the future. But the reality is that the vast majority of the current fleet in build does little to inspire clients for the future of yachting. The industry can however take some comfort in knowing that shipyards like Mengi Yay have already started to entrust the next generation with the responsibility of getting a head start on future-proof initiatives. 

 

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Mengi-Yay reveal their plans for an autonomous future

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User photoJohn Solomon - 26 Jul 2022 17:12

Regarding AI and autonomous operation, I'd be interested to know the perceived value in replacing crew on a superyacht?

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