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  • Founders: Hrvoje Mihovilović
  • Founded in: 2021, Split, Croatia
  • Employees: 3
  • Money raised: Several investments from various sources to the tune of €60,000, and €30,000 from our own funds.
  • Ultimate goal: ELNAV aims to improve the safety of maritime transportation by applying artificial intelligence that makes use of speech and image recognition.

Risks of accidents involving ships can be minimized with the help of the Helm Order Monitor. This device from the Croatian start-up Elnav improves communication between crew members on ships to prevent any human errors. Hrvoje Mihovilović explains how it works. 

What purpose does Elnav serve? 

“Elnav aims to make navigation at sea safer. I spent thirty years in the merchant marine. During that time, I noticed that there was still a lot to be gained when it came to safety at sea. That is why I founded Elnav, which is part of the ICT Županija ecosystem. Through Elnav, I developed the Helm Order Monitor. This is a system that prevents many of the human errors that occur in the manual steering of ships, thereby increasing safety levels during navigation.” 

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How does the Helmet Order Monitor work? 

“The Helm Order Monitor is the first ever system that solves the problem of the lack of monitoring of communications between maritime helmsmen and navigators. It is a built-in system equipped with voice recognition software and connected to data sensors that checks whether the instructions given by the captain or a navigator to the ship’s helmsman are transmitted clearly, reach the helmsman correctly, and are executed correctly. Any errors can be promptly corrected this way.

It is important to automate this process. Because monitoring these kinds of instructions and how they are carried out demands a lot of concentration from people. The fact that the Helmet Order Monitor bundles all kinds of information together in one overview is also important, because this means that navigators have fewer functions to monitor, which makes their work easier.” 

What problem are you solving with this? 

“Unfortunately, maritime accidents due to mistakes made by helmsmen are not uncommon. A lot can go wrong in the communication, and this has already claimed a lot of lives. A famous example of this is the Costa Concordia. The mistakes that the captain are particularly well known. But it also turns out that there was miscommunication between the helmsmen, which ultimately caused the ship to crash. With Helm Order Monitor, the chance of making these kinds of mistakes should be kept to a minimum. In order to properly roll out the software in the maritime world, we are also making it available to nautical schools and training centers for seafarers as well as training courses in the Navy.”   

How are things going at the moment? 

“In recent months, we have entered into partnerships with several other companies which are helping to optimize certain aspects of the software. Among them are Germany’s Fraunhofer IDMT and Denmark’s ISIC. For example, the speech recognition software needs to be familiar with all kinds of different accents and speaking patterns. We were able to accomplish that by joining forces with other tech companies. Our prototype is now finished. Although the shipping industry is slow to innovate, and it was not easy to get the right certificates, we are looking ahead to the future with confidence. We have managed to raise a total investment sum of around €60,000. And we have invested €30,000 ourselves. We are ready to take on the market.” 

What are your aspirations for the future? 

“For the time being, we are focusing on selling the Helmet Order Monitor, which should cost around €4,000 a piece. Thanks to our partners, we can start to manufacture about five hundred units per year.”