Project Description

Project Goals:

Radio communication has an important role in shipping. Especially in an emergency, quick and easy communication between officers on board and those responsible in coordination centres ashore is crucial. The VHF radio used in this context is a safety-relevant component on board a ship and is part of the mandatory equipment. This communication technology has proven itself over decades, but it also has its pitfalls: The quality of the transmitted messages varies considerably depending on the distance between transmitter and receiver as well as the height of the antennas used and can be further affected by the prevailing weather conditions. Engine noise on board and multinational crews speaking in different accents and dialects further complicate the understanding of the messages received. 

To overcome these challenges, Fraunhofer CML has developed the marFM® speech recognition technology. This simplifies radio communication through two essential components. 

  1. Radio messages are reliably transcribed through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). On this basis, misunderstandings can be identified more quickly and information can be comprehended more easily. Radio traffic as a whole is documented chronologically, which makes it possible to subsequently view the course of conversations. 
  2. By using radio direction finding and innovative localisation algorithms, the senders of radio messages can be located and identified. Responsible officers thus receive clear and comprehensible information about who sent what, when and from where, and can thus act more quickly and with greater foresight. 


Artificial intelligence for maritime speech recognition: Our solution is specially developed and optimised for the acoustic and linguistic challenges of maritime radio messages, such as poor audio quality, multinational crews with different accents and dialects, use of Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP) as well as ship names. marFM® automatically converts incoming radio messages into text of the spoken language. 

Role of the CML in marFM®:

To meet these challenges, we at Fraunhofer CML have developed the maritime speech recogniser marFM® - a complementary tool to conventional VHF radio. It supports radio operators in daily operations when communication problems occur and also saves reaction time in critical situations.