There is sometimes the feeling at the Monaco Yacht Show that companies hoard their innovations and announcements all year in order to present them during the one week when all the superyacht industry congregates, resulting in an overwhelming number of new products and technologies on display. As such, it can be difficult to decipher a clear message about the direction that the superyacht industry is headed. From my experience of MYS 2019, however, there seemed to be an overriding theme of embracing technologies with the aim of usurping traditional practices and improving efficiency across a plethora of superyacht processes. 

During DNV-GL Maritime’s superyacht seminar, additive manufacturing (also known an 3D printing) was discussed for its potential to revolutionise the way parts, objects and even whole vessels are designed, manufactured and distributed. With the adoption of technology enabling printing in metal, vital spare parts and system components can now be printed on demand in locations around the world, including on vessels themselves. DNV is therefore increasingly interested in the technology’s potential to transform the maritime equipment supply chain.

“For the superyacht industry this could mean mass customisation as opposed to mass production – with 3D printing there is no reason why everything you manufacture can’t be different,” explains DNV’s Simon Ratcliffe. “Other benefits for the industry include the ability to use more innovative materials and access to spare parts on demand.” Ratcliffe also pointed out that one day it will likely be possible to 3D print superyacht hull forms, which is already happening in the boating market on smaller scale.

There were a number of new technologies being presented at the show that focused on efficiency and optimisation. Bolidt’s sensor flooring concept, for example, aims to incorporate artificial intelligence in on-board flooring systems. The sensor flooring can detect the presence of people around the vessel, adding benefits in terms of on-board safety, security and operational efficiency. “The integration of artificial intelligence will be a big thing in this industry,” comments Robert Van Aarle, sales and business development manager maritime at Bolidt. “We want the traditional flooring system to be used as more than just a flooring system – that’s our aim for the future.” 

The use of artificial intelligence is also increasingly featuring in other areas of the industry. Being presented to the superyacht market for the first time at the show, OSCAR is a navigational aid system based on artificial vision and intelligence. Developed for offshore racing yachts, OSCAR uses a combination of thermal cameras and artificial intelligence to detect and identify floating objects on the water day and night in order to reduce the risk of maritime collision.

Having recently launched its first commercial training simulation for power management training using virtual reality (VR) technology, V360 Marine was at the show to share how the technology can improve efficiency within crew training. “By providing a simple-to-use, fully-mobile solution, companies avoid the need to coordinate crew training as it can be completed on board by the crew themselves,” says V360 Marine’s CEO Sam Slater. “Similarly, training centres and other management companies won’t need to rely on physical mock-ups to deploy the training which can be done in any classroom or workplace.”

As superyachts are increasingly dependent on technology, how to protect them from cybercrime is a growing concern. During MYS, VBH and Atlas Cybersecurity announced a new partnership to provide cyber-security solutions tailored to superyachts. “Superyachts are similar to small-to-medium businesses in terms of the complexity of the systems on board, and these types of businesses are more likely to be attacked by cybercriminals because they are more likely to be successful,” advises Eric Stride, Chief Technology Officer at Atlas Cybersecurity. “We have seen attacks that have hacked the navigation systems on board commercial ships, and expect to see it more and more on superyachts.” 

As ever there was innovation to be found in every corner of the show, so rather than recognising a few particular highlights – of which many can be found in SuperyachtNews' Monaco Yacht Show coverage – this was my main takeaway from this year’s MYS: a feeling of a growing drive and acceptance towards innovations that actually change the ‘how it’s always been done’ mentality, but for the better.

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