AI-ARC (Artificial Intelligence Based Virtual Control Room for the Arctic) project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101021271.
The complex and multi-stakeholder nature of today’s maritime domain, combined with contemporary technology developments such as global connectivity, particularly in relation to data sharing and storage, 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 is instantly 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 a number of 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. This is further aggravated in areas as remote and ecologically sensitive as the Arctic and the High North, due to a lack of critical infrastructure and limited connectivity. 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. Over the course of 30 months, 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.
Objectives and value of AI-ARC
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 solution will be most particularly valuable for Coast and Border Guard Authorities, private communities and private enterprises, such as the fishing and cruise industries and commercial shipping. By enhancing 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.
The AI-ARC Consortium is led by Laurea University of Applied Sciences and gathers 22 partners from 12 different countries.
Instruments and management structure
The successful implementation of a collaborative research project such as AI-ARC, requires efficient, well documented and structured project management processes. Of particular importance are clear assignment and distribution of responsibilities and timely flow of information to allow execution within budget and on schedule, enabling smooth workflow and efficient reporting of progress. These factors create smooth project alignment and compliance with deliverables (table 3.1B) and milestones (table 3.2C), as well as managing and mitigating the risks.
The AI-ARC project management structure is designed to meet the objectives of all stakeholders, including the EC, by creating responsiveness to the evolving needs of the project. In particular, the project management structure will:
- Ensure that the project meets its contractual obligations. This will entail continuous progress monitoring, communication and a shared understanding of roles & responsibilities.
- Facilitate the delivery of high-quality research & innovation. Central to achieving this will be the coordination of activities between technical partners and the integration of their results
- Maximise, measure and validate the impact of the system on the target audiences, both within and beyond the technology enhanced learning research and industry communities.
The project management boards and committees shown in Figure 16, aligned with DESCA H2020 model, are the Council of Partner (CoP), and the Project Steering Team (PST). The meetings schedule for AI-ARC is fixed to a regular six-month basis, e.g., two meetings per year for the main executive bodies. The schedule is fixed in advance to allow maximum preparation time. There will be very frequent (virtual) cross-team and management board meetings, and person to person meetings when it is necessary, following important issues or process escalations.
Management Committees and Functions
Council of Partners (CoP): The CoP, chaired by the Project Manager, is the annual meeting of all project partners who have the decision-making power. The CoP decides matters relating to budget, work plan, partner performance, amendment of the Consortium Agreement (CA), or premature project termination. Voting procedures are defined in the Consortium Agreement. The annual meeting agenda includes the following; (a) Report by the Project Manager, (b) Report by the Quality & Ethics Manager, (c) Reports by the WP Leaders on technical implementation issues, (d) Approval of annual and final reports, (e) Approval of yearly implementation plans.
Project Steering Team (PST): The Project Steering Team consists of the project management roles specified in the Table 3.2A. It brings to the project a wealth of experience coordinating EU projects and will ensure that the project satisfies the needs of the EC, Consortium, the Maritime Transport and CPSoS (Cyber-physical
Systems of Systems) community as a whole. The PST will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the project, and will report to the CoP. The PST will have weekly teleconferences and meetings.
External Advisory Board (EAB): The EAB will offer impartial scientific advice, support the PST and advise the consortium on social, environmental, technological, legal and economic factors that may influence the innovation management of AI-ARC. It will be chaired by one of its members, elected upon the EAB’s first meeting in M1. The EAB comprises a gender-balanced group of 4 external advisors representing research and business interests, drawn from across Europe and embracing a range of knowledge of the project’s focus areas. The EAB will meet at the start of the project, review progress annually, and offer advice when needed. EAB consist members of Arctic Council (TBC), EUPolar Network, Maersk corporation and MFA Finland (TBC).
Ethics Panel: Includes legal advisors of the participating members (experts on ethics, privacy and legal issues). An external expert will be invited to the panel, to act as independent reviewer and consultant to ensure decisions taken can be generalised and adopted by wider audiences.
Innovation & Exploitation Board: Includes a member from each organisation participating in the PST. Its role is to detail the commercialisation strategy.