North Star

An efficient and safe passage in the Arctic Ocean for recreational crafts and charter yacht operators.

Our challenge: Safe passage at sea

Some facts:

  • In 2017 a total of 32 vessels made the journey: a cargo ship, a cruise ship, a tanker, dedicated icebreakers, and several adventure yachts 
  • Satellite coverage in the region is unreliable
  • Only 6% of Arctic waters are mapped according to international standards 
  • Majority of Arctic tourists come from the US, Australia, UK, and Germany, with the rest coming from Europe and Asia‘s more affluent countries.
  • Dwindling ice is making regions and sea routes more accessible, which for a long time were reserved for adventurers, research expeditions and indigenous people
  • Satellite coverage and communication capabilities are only rudimentary in both the Russian and Canadian Arctic
  • Harsh environmental conditions of the Arctic, a low rescue infrastructure and shoals along the routes are only a few examples of factors that make regular use of Arctic sea routes difficult

Our idea

The idea of North Star is that of a democratized and a data-driven route navigation system. North Star  transforms a vessel into a rover and into an on site data-gathering platform, where it becomes a node in a "mesh cloud" of other North Star nodes in the Arctic seas. This in turn forms a mesh network that contributes augmented data back to the GNSS ecosystem.

A mesh cloud of boats acting as rovers and in situ data gatherer

What is a mesh cloud?

A mesh cloud is the coverage area of all radio nodes working as a single network, where access to the mesh depends on the radio nodes working together to create a radio network.

Why a mesh network?

  • A mesh network is reliable and offers redundancy
  • When one node can no longer operate, the rest of the nodes can still communicate with each other
  • They can communicate directly with each or through one or more intermediate nodes
  • It can self form and self heal
  • It works with different wireless technology, including
  • It does not need to be restricted to any one technology or protocol


A mesh network of edge computing nodes in the Scandinavian Arctic

EGNOS and Galileo

North Star's neural engine primarily relies on the raw data provided by the GNSS  and gets augmented with the boat's own in situ data. The boat's in situ data is then shared to the mesh cloud where other North Star nodes, in turn, can use to augment their own data for a safe and efficient data-driven navigation in the Arctic seas.

ANN trained on Copernicus data (SENTINEL-2 Level-C1/LevelC2) for iceberg recognition


What North Star is not

It is not an autonomous navigation system. Our AI Pilot takes over only when the boat suffers extended satellite signal loss, but even then, it does not act autonomously. All control and authority rests solely with the boat's crew.

Our awesome team

Paola:  computational fluid dynamics + neural networks + aerospace engineering

Avin: user experience and user interaction design + human factors engineering

Arthur: product development + IoT + big data analytics