Function and technical background
You do not have to install any software on your computer but you simply use our service online in your Internet browser. You register there and then you're ready to go! "Real-ETA" is thus usable on every operating system.
Our service is now available for all German coastal waters, including the North Sea and Baltic Sea, the Elbe, the Weser and other shipping routes, as well as the North Sea Canal. In principle, however, the system can be used worldwide. For this, our ETA engine has to be trained only with the AIS data of the region for a period of a few weeks in order to provide reliable values.
The basic version of "Real-ETA" has a pre-defined number of ETA lines (waypoints) that you can select and use immediately. Of course, we can define any lines, circles, or polygons as "points of arrival". An ETA line does not necessarily have to be a port, but can be any location, such as a sluice or a tonne in the outer Elbe. In the premium services of "Real-ETA", you can define your own lines to further optimize your work.
We calculate the ETA for each ship almost in real time. More precisely, we update every ETA within a few minutes so that you always have the latest information available.
"Real-ETA" now generally achieves a probability of 95% or more in the calculation of the ETA times. And this within a prediction period of up to 13 hours. Of course, the more distant a ship is from an ETA line, the more difficult the forecast. But have a look at our statistics to get a picture of our quality.
Our provided performance is measurable! In this way, we are constantly publishing our current forecast quality so that you can measure us against reality.
If we discover a ship in the observation area today, we compare the previously traveled route with our stored historical ship routes to recognize patterns in the movement. Only similar patterns are compared, i.e. size, type of the ship as well as its course and its speed are included in a comparison. If we have found a suitable similar route from the past, then we can make a statement about the future route of the ship and calculate possible intersections for an ETA line. In essence, "Real-ETA" is based on an artificial neural network (Wikipedia article), which contains historical data of ship movements. Currently, we store about 3 million AIS data points each day for the calculation of historical ship routes. This is, of course, only a very rough description of how "Real-ETA" works! Does this all sound complicated? Yes, it is, but only for our software developers. You as a user do not need to understand our ETA engine if you just want to work with it. Using "Real-ETA" is simple and easy!
We currently have a ship database with about 40,000 entries, which are up to date. For each ship, existing details such as IMO number, paging, dimensions, and many other values are given.
Yes, you can filter any ETA list, for example, according to the ship's length, type, or many other criteria, so that the list shows only the ships that are of interest to you. In the premium versions of "Real-ETA", you can also register your own fleet or hide certain ships with a "blacklist".
Not yet, but if the demand with our customers is big enough, then we will provide it within a few weeks.
Of course it is possible that you receive a data stream with ETAs and other information from "Real-ETA" , which flows into your operational software systems. We must arrange an appropriate interface with your responsible technical contact persons.
Usage and costs
"Real-ETA" is still in the trial phase. The service is already working very good, but we are still not quite sure what additional features such as the AIS location, ship database, and so on we want to include in our business model. Here we are dependent on your help as a beta user. You create "Real-ETA" with us together!
You will receive an invoice from us for the period of use in advance, which you can comfortably settle with a payment term of 14 days. Later bank deduction or direct debit as well as payments by credit card or PayPal will be possible.
You decide for yourself whether you would like to book and pay for our service for 3, 12 or 24 months in advance. At the end of each term, your subscription will automatically be extended by the booked period.
We don't conclude long-term oppresive contracts with you. You can terminate our services at any time with a notice period of 4 weeks to the end of the term.
VESTVIND is a joint research project of TRENZ AG and Fraunhofer CML (http://www.cml.fraunhofer.de) in Hamburg. The aim of the project is to extend the forecast period of our ETA system to up to 72 hours and to further increase the predictive quality of the ETA times. The project will be completed in August 2017.