AI and Robotics for Safeguarding Sea Infrastructures, Fincantieri vision


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  • CEO envisions an integrated fleet to protect maritime critical infrastructures.
  • Automation and robotics offer cost-effective advantages in safeguarding maritime assets. 
  • Civil-military AI synergy is crucial for enhancing maritime defense capabilities

Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Fincantieri, a prominent shipbuilding group, has emphasized the need for cooperation between military and civilian entities to construct an integrated fleet of ships, submarines, and drones dedicated to protecting vital maritime infrastructures. This initiative aims to counter threats to critical installations such as hospitals, power plants, and institutions targeted by nations like Russia. As a proactive approach to safeguarding these assets, Folgiero envisions employing a network of autonomous systems that gather data through sensors and AI algorithms, transforming it into actionable insights.

Building a Network of Systems

Folgiero envisions a paradigm shift in the role of ships, which would evolve into comprehensive data collection platforms. These vessels would become the core of an interconnected system by integrating various sensors, automation, and unmanned drones and submarines. This innovative approach has already succeeded in Norway, where Fincantieri-backed VARD has proposed “lightly crewed” or uncrewed ships for tasks such as monitoring wind farms and remotely undertaking maintenance activities.

Advantages of automation and robotics

The CEO emphasizes the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of robotics in monitoring and safeguarding maritime infrastructures. Robots possess the capability to operate in remote and challenging environments at a faster pace compared to humans. Leveraging this advantage, Folgiero envisions a future where a fleet of drones and submarines collectively forms a responsive defense system capable of rapidly addressing potential threats.

Fincantieri’s role and vision

While drones play a pivotal role in this strategy, Folgiero clarifies that Fincantieri’s goal is to become a system integrator rather than solely a drone manufacturer. The company aims to deliver comprehensive and effective responses to complex requirements by connecting existing technologies and solutions. This approach ensures the seamless integration of various elements, optimizing the overall solution’s effectiveness.

Challenges and progression

Implementing such an intricate network presents challenges, notably the development of underwater communication protocols. Unlike conventional wireless systems, underwater networks necessitate innovative approaches due to the limitations of signal propagation underwater. Fincantieri has taken steps in this direction by partnering with C.A.B.I. Cattaneo, is an Italian company specializing in underwater vehicle design and development. This collaboration aims to explore the integration of underwater vehicles with larger vessels, enhancing the overall capability of the maritime defense system.

Civil-military synergy in AI

Folgiero believes that civilian sector advancements in artificial intelligence-driven robotics can significantly benefit military applications. Unlike the military, which often faces challenges due to classified information and data restrictions, the open nature of civilian AI development offers a broader and more diverse dataset for training AI systems. Folgiero envisions a symbiotic relationship where civil AI innovations contribute to enhancing military capabilities.

Pierroberto Folgiero’s vision of an interconnected fleet of autonomous ships, submarines, and drones marks a significant leap forward in maritime defense strategies. This approach aims to provide a proactive defense against threats to critical maritime infrastructures by harnessing the power of AI, robotics, and data integration. As the CEO of Fincantieri, Folgiero is driving innovation and collaboration between various sectors to create a robust and responsive defense system for safeguarding vital installations at sea.

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Editah Patrick

Editah is a versatile fintech analyst with a deep understanding of blockchain domains. As much as technology fascinates her, she finds the intersection of both technology and finance mind-blowing. Her particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids her audience.

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