Volvo Penta and Qamcom Group have formed a start-up targeted to help commercial marine vessels minimize emissions and maximize efficiency.

The team from left to right: Jakob Ursby, Volvo Penta, Helene Niklasson, Group Trucks Technology, Christopher Hedvall, Volvo Autonomous Solutions, Ethan Faghani, Cetasol, Jonas Sandberg, Qamcom

Formed under the company name Cetasol, the new company is based on a spinoff from Volvo Penta. The partnership was formed with the support and guidance of CampX, the Volvo Group’s global innovation arena for technology and business transformation.

Cetasol starts with the development and offering of iHelm, a marine digital platform for optimization of fuel consumption or energy usage. The iHelm idea came from within the new technology development team at Volvo Penta and was led by Ethan Faghani, the former Chief Engineer of Automation and AI at Volvo Penta. It was recognized that this solution could have a large impact on the fuel efficiency of customer operations. A preliminary pilot test was run with a Volvo Penta customer, which showed a 17% reduction in fuel consumption. At this stage, the idea was lifted out of Volvo Penta and evaluated in CampX. From here it was decided to spin off into a start-up together with Qamcom Group. Qamcom Group, founded in 2001 – and positioned between wireless connectivity, autonomous systems, and industrial IoT – is a leading technology group with experience in co-founding and investing in new technology-based companies. Having been a competent partner to Volvo Group in other projects it was a clear choice.

“The current pace of technological developments means we need to find additional ways to create customer value through innovation,” says Jakob Ursby, Director of Business Development at Volvo Penta. “To be a world leader in sustainable power solutions we need to diversify the way we develop and take products to market and drive sustainability together in different partnerships. At Volvo Penta, we are already working with services and AI, but the unique thing is that the idea has spun off and is growing in a start-up environment with an external tech partner.”

The iHelm system consists of an on-board interface and a cloud solution that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to continuously find the optimum operation. In this case, interpretation of data and recognition of patterns that gives optimum recommendations for minimizing fuel consumption or energy usage.

iHelm has been compared to the captain's own “personal trainer” helping operate the vessel more sustainably. Cetasol will work very closely with customers and their vessels, to maximize efficiency.

“The need for increased sustainability has never been more relevant and technology will play a key role in creating new solutions,” says co-founder and CEO of Cetasol, Ethan Faghani. “Cetasol’s mission will be to help commercial marine companies save time and energy by identifying ways to be more efficient through an intelligent support system installed in each vessel.”

The focus of initiating this start-up has been to identify mutual aims for all parties and get to a deal that has the most optimal results – for the involved parties but also the wider society. The new company will have sustainability and co-creation as its core values. Qamcom Group is very confident and positive about the collaboration with Volvo Penta.

“We’re proud to be part of this new start-up together with Volvo Penta,” says Jonas Sandberg, Co-founder and Business Developer at Qamcom Group. “We aim to create as much impact through technology as possible with a clear sustainability focus. Our contribution to Cetasol is supporting research and technology developments by providing access to a pool of experts from different fields. With Cetasol’s intelligent solutions and high ambition, together with Volvo Penta’s capacity and Qamcom Group’s technical expertise, we are convinced that the market will value the company’s offering.”

“The traditional way to establish leadership was to protect intellectual property,” explains Ethan Faghani. “However, the new leadership is about connecting organizations in a way that maximizes their value. And that’s exactly what's been done with this new business.”

Connect with Volvo Penta at Seawork Connect 5th- 7th October