The complex and multi-stakeholder nature of today’s maritime domain, combined with contemporary technology developments such as global connectivity has the potential to facilitate significant data collection within a realm which has been relatively untapped until now. When applied to remote areas such as the Arctic and High North, this potential amplified as a result of the limited exposure these regions have had to modern technologies.

While these vast data quantities present considerable opportunities, they pose several challenges, particularly for maritime user communities as they can often hinder the detection of anomalies and threats in regular trac patterns and overload the operational picture, resulting in delayed or impaired decision-making. The consequences are potentially dramatic in terms of accidents, pollution, border infringements and criminal activities.

The aim of AI-ARC is to create an innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) based platform, known as the Virtual Control Room (VCR), that provides maritime actors with powerful situational awareness for decision-making and safety, without increasing workload. AI-ARC will apply AI, machine learning and virtual reality to its VCR solution to flag detected anomalies and provide threat or risk assessments according to users’ predefined needs.

The AI-ARC Consortium is led by Laurea University of Applied Sciences and gathers 22 partners from 12 different countries.


Through novel technologies and innovations, AI-ARC will improve maritime situational awareness, decision-making, communication, available rescue resources, and thus the safety and security of all EU maritime actors, particularly in the Arctic Sea.

The AI-ARC project will develop a shared collaboration workspace based on innovative and efficient AI-services, a VCR that will significantly enhance border and external security, as well as support cooperation in managing external borders in the Artic and High North Seas. The platform will be tested and developed together with practitioners and other end users in order to properly address their needs. The new technological solutions to be developed rely on existing systems, in compliance with EUROSUR. Further, the platform is integrated with the CISE environment to ensure a seamless cross-sector and cross-border interoperability. This ensures a quick uptake of the platform by the practitioners, and the platform does not require costly investments or increased workload. Finally, AI-ARC pays specific attention to societal resilience and aims to improve citizens´ perception of safety.

The AI-ARC solution will be most valuable for Coast and Border Guard Authorities, private communities and private enterprises, such as the fishing and cruise industries and commercial shipping. By enhancing the capabilities of these end-users, AI-ARC partakes in the efforts of the European Union to improve the management of EU borders, build secure societies and protect the freedom and security of Europe and its citizens. AI-ARC also fully embraces the European Union’s ambition for a stronger engagement towards a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic throughout.


In the autumn 2023 AI-ARC conducted two demonstrations, Baltic Demonstration in Karlskrona, Sweden, in September and Arctic Demonstration in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October. In the demonstrations AI-ARC presented the functions of the Virtual Control Room.

The Baltic Demonstration focused on anomaly detection such as illegal fishing, smuggling and threats to critical underwater infrastructure. The Arctic Demonstration concentrated on major search and rescue (SAR) incident and safe navigation in Arctic areas.

The Baltic Demonstration aimed to show the end-to-end functionality of the AI-ARC system.  Its goals were to demonstrate a successful operation of VCR in remote collaboration, to show how VCR can detect interesting information from historical AIS data, to demonstrate how VCR can detect and visualize anomalies in vessel behavior, and to show VCR ability to predict and detect criminal intentions by combining data of anomalies. One aim of the demonstration was also to identify areas for further system development.

The Baltic Demonstration focused on five cases: smuggling, environmental violation, threats against critical infrastructure, illegal fishing, and grounding. All the cases were based on real, historical data. There were several AI-ARC services tested in the demonstration: prediction, risk assessment, anomaly detection, and intention prediction services.

The Baltic Demonstration was successful and gave promising results. VCR and DigLT (Digital Lage Tisch i.e. Digital Situation Table) were found to be well-functioning, and their potential for further development was recognized.

The Arctic SAR Demonstration was a hands-on demonstration aiming to demonstrate and test the functionality of several AI-ARC system services in a real-life environment. The services included for example prediction services, risk assessment services, iceberg and vessel detection by satellite, and Business Process management (BPM) service as well as In-Situ functionality. The participants got an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the potential of a common information sharing environment together with the AI-ARC solution, namely VCR, and they were able to give feedback on the usability of the solution. In this case, the end-users are various marine authorities, merchant mariners and coastguards working in rescue coordination centres and onboard vessels.

In the Arctic Demo VCR was used for remote collaboration. There were near-real-time data communications in between operating vessels and Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) using VCR. In the demo, the AI-ARC consortium members and end-users were evaluating the system´s operational features and services operating in a real time environment. The demo outcomes helped to identify areas for further system development.

There were two scenarios in the Artic Demonstration. First of them was a Search and Rescue Scenario where a fishing vessel got into trouble in Iceland SAR region after experiencing an engine failure. The ship drifted onto sea ice and began to take in water, lost its stability and experienced a blackout. The last information from the vessel informed was that the crew planned to abandon the ship into a life raft. Alert was triggered as no further AIS signals or other contact from the vessel was available.  The Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) initiated SAR mission. Search and Rescue Units consisted of a coast guard vessel, patrol boats, and ships of opportunity. The ICG and on-scene units used VCR in support of a coordination of the search and rescue operation.

The second scenario was a Safe Navigation scenario in which a simulated tanker or other merchant vessel with dangerous cargo was in transit to Reykjavik through the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) southwest of Reykjanes Peninsula. The Traffic Separation Scheme is established to increase the safety of navigation and for protection of economically and biologically important maritime areas by directing ship traffic into safe routes and restrict vessels over a certain size and carrying dangerous and polluting cargoes through sensitive sea areas. In the scenario the vessel took unintendedly a wrong course and entered to areas to be avoided and was multiple times in danger of grounding. The coast guard instructed the vessel of its misconducts. At the same time the operators noticed that there were a vessel approaching an iceberg, and with the help of VCR services ICG was able to help the vessel to avoid collision with the iceberg.

The detection of the dark vessel was also tested in the Arctic Demonstration. One of the target vessels turned their AIS transponder off in order to hide its location. VCR was able detect and follow the target still.

The Arctic demo was also successful showing the potential of VCR especially in real operative environment.

Concluding the both demonstration results and referring to feedback received from participating consortium partners and invited end-users, the AI-ARC project is developing a solution with new and useful services. The AI-ARC project brings added value to several stakeholders in challenging arctic maritime environment. There is still room for improvement, but the demonstrations showed potential and need for that kind of system.


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