Buffalo Automation: Giving an “Autonomous Touch” to the Marine Industry

Thiru Vikram, CEO
Despite the significant amount of ambiguity concerning self-driving technologies, there’s no denying that autonomous electric cars are the new frontiers of transformation in the automobile industry. While advancements in self-driving technologies are accelerating rapidly in the automobile space, lesser-known is a similar trajectory being followed in the marine industry. Not just that, the developments in the autonomous driving space do little to bring about an autonomous sailing experience in the maritime space. Even in embracing the latest technologies such as rearview cameras and automated emergency braking—the standard safety products in the automotive space— the boating and shipping market finds itself hovering at the bottom of the curve. Identifying these technology gaps in the marine industry, New York-based Buffalo Automation puts its best foot forward to help bridge those with its innovative data-driven solutions.

Founded in 2014, Buffalo Automation is an AI startup driven by a mission to empower the marine space with the cutting-edge technologies prevailing in the automobile industry. Adhering close to this goal, the company develops a suite of robust solutions for commercial vessels, recreational boats, ports, and water taxis that helps improve maritime safety and automation.
Buffalo Automation’s journey in creating a unique niche in the marine industry began by developing a first-ofits- kind automated emergency braking system for speedboats. With the help of a camera mounted on the boat, the solution detects obstacles and provides emergency braking, even if the operator is not paying attention. A few months down the line, the company added an accident warning system into its portfolio, which detects and reports accidents occurring in its premises. Buffalo Automation then used its expert set of hands to replace conventional radar-based autopilot systems with its AIpowered solutions, providing vessels with an efficient and comprehensive perception of their surroundings. What gives the firm a competitive edge is its in-depth know-how in data analytics, image processing, and AI.

“Our flagship product Greycraft is a solar-powered electric vessel that allows fully autonomous and unmanned operation as well as mooring lineless docking,” says Vikram. Designed as an accessible and sustainable vehicle for urban water taxi or bareboat rental purposes, it serves as the natural fit for those who are unable to afford or operate a boat to enjoy waters. People can use the company’s Mayday app to summon and operate the vessel. Greycraft’s modular construction allows it to be customized and rebuilt at any deployment site, making it a more practical option as a survey, patrol, reconnaissance, amphibious assault, and mine countermeasures vessel. Using solar-charged batteries reduces the overall operational and maintenance cost while ensuring pollution-free sailing.


We specialize in providing autonomous navigation, situational awareness, decision support, remote monitoring, data analytics, and cloud-based fleet management platforms for the marine industry

Elaborating on Buffalo Automation’s value proposition, Vikram recalls their collaboration with Algoma, a leading shipping firm based in the Great Lakes region. The company helped them automate and increase the safety of their shipping operations by leveraging AutoMate, its advanced sensor system that uses AI to provide situational awareness and decision support for commercial ships. In another instance, Buffalo Automation helped Future Mobility Network, a Dutchbased organization to launch a water-taxi service in the Netherlands by providing its Greycraft technology.

Such instances of success manifest Buffalo Automation’s dedication to building solutions that really add value to the marine industry. “We pride ourselves on a culture of innovation reinforced by the Pareto principle, helping us explore out-of-the-box use cases for our core technology,” adds Vikram. The company is also recognized for its TeleMate technology that provides teleoperation and remote monitoring from a mobile control station or onshore remote console instead of having safety drivers within the vessel. Moving ahead, Buffalo Automation is strategizing to extend its footprint by acquiring more customers and democratizing its technology further. It is also pushing its boundaries of innovation to introduce the ‘Tesla element’ in the marine industry by launching electric self-driving boats. “This way, we intend to provide people with a convenient and reliable sailing experience while spreading the message of environment friendliness,” concludes Vikram.

Company
Buffalo Automation

Headquarters
Amherst, NY

Management
Thiru Vikram, CEO

Description
Founded in 2014, Buffalo Automation is an AI startup driven by a mission to empower the marine space with the cutting-edge technologies prevailing in the automobile industry. Adhering close to this goal, the company develops a suite of robust solutions for commercial vessels, recreational boats, ports, and water taxis that helps improve maritime safety and automation. They specialize in providing autonomous navigation, situational awareness, decision support, remote monitoring, data analytics, and cloud-based fleet management platforms for the marine industry.

Buffalo Automation