OSCAR stands for Optical System for Cognition And Ranging and is the first AI based system, available for sailing yachts and for motor vessels. It alerts you of any floating obstacle on your course – large and small – day and night.
The OSCAR systems are designed to detect hazards that cannot be detected by radars, AIS or sonar. As a result OSCAR prevents collisions with any potential threat a vessel can encounter at sea. Be it other vessels, unidentified floating objects such as logs, buoys or containers, as well as sleeping sea mammals. The system alerts the crew of any potential danger and tracks the position and distance of that threat.
OSCAR is made in Austria by BSB Artificial intelligence GmbH and developed in partnership with its sister company BSB Marine, which is located right in the sailing Mecca of Port la Forêt in Brittany (France). The proximity to the ocean and the best offshore racers in the world, helped OSCAR to subject itself to the strictest of all schools. Above all, to improve the safety and functionality of the OSCAR system. Data collected from selected testusers is transferred to our development center in Lisbon (Portugal). There, the data is analysed, annotated if necessary and the algorithms improved.
In 2013, Raphael Biancale, on his return from a 6month sailing trip, sought in vain for a system enabling a sailor to navigate waters by night in complete safety. With his work in intelligent car systems giving him great insight, he realised there was an opportunity to transfer the technology between the automotive sector and that of boating.
In 2017, BSB received financial support from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Public Investment Bank (AWS). After that, Raphael Biancale got in touch with Gaetan Gouerou, manager of the company Mer & Projets, co-founder of the CDK Technologies shipyard and General Delegate of the IMOCA class.
Convinced by the concept, Gaetan Gouerou decided to get involved. With his expertise and connections in the maritime domain, he helped immensely with meeting the expectations of our customers.
At the end of 2017, the skipper Jean Le Cam, convinced of the interest of such a system, volunteered to be the first user and assisted in the definition of the first specifications.
In early 2018, three winners of the Vendée Globe, Vincent Riou, François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac’h, agreed to provide their support and expertise to the project.
Many months of prototyping, testing and further prototyping and testing went into the development of OSCAR. As a result and with the help of the top race-teams and strong team members, to drive the project forward, the first OSCAR system was born and raised.
In 2020 the company wins Stephan Schambach and Christoph Ballin as investors. Stephan Schambach is one of Germany´s most successful IT entrepreneurs, an avid sailor and former lead investor behind e-motor pioneer Torqeedo.
Christoph Ballin, founder and CEO of Torqeedo, led Torqeedo until 2 years after its acquisition by Deutz AG. With the new investores on board and Christoph Ballin directly involved in business development, operations picked up additional momentum.
In 2021 OSCAR Navigation launched its first system designed for motor vessels and promptly convinced the jury of the IBEX Innovation Award, winning the safety equipment category in 2021.