Peter Holm

European Director, aka: Industry expert turned autonomy maven

With 23 years’ experience in the marine industry, some would call Peter Holm a veteran, but the reality is that he is just getting started. Born in Denmark, Peter grew up in the country’s maritime epicenter, entranced by the ships that called into port. It only made sense then that in 1997 he accepted an apprenticeship as a ship’s boarding agent for the Port of Esbjerg. The apprenticeship gave him critical dockside experience and an appreciation for the interaction between ships and the port.

The early days of his career continued in the maritime sector, with various roles for shipping companies in Denmark. But when he had the chance to support an oil and gas project for Maersk FPSOs in Singapore and Brazil, his career began to bourgeon. The Maersk project led to interactions with SAL Heavy Lift, which later offered him a job in Germany. Peter, who is fluent in five languages, accepted in 2011 and relocated to Hamburg, where he and his family reside to this day. The next year, Italian firm Micoperi Engineering was awarded the world’s largest wreck removal and maritime salvage project, the Costa Concordia, and hired SAL. As a result, Peter traveled to Italy and began working side-by-side with Michael G. Johnson, the 2015 founder of Sea Machines.

Michael’s big ideas for how to improve the productivity and safety of the industry through modern technology left an impression on Peter and he agreed to join fledgling Sea Machines Robotics for a European sales tour in 2016.

“Admittedly, I was apprehensive to join a start-up. But the next year I attended an industry event in Copenhagen. The speaker said, ‘Autonomous ships are not a thing of the future; they are here now,’ and he directed attention to our autonomous vessel sailing by. It was then that I had to be a part of this.”

Peter enthusiastically joined Sea Machines full time in 2018 with responsibility for ensuring success for the groundbreaking project alongside A.P. Moller-Maersk to trial the world’s first A.I.-powered advanced perception system aboard an operating ship. The trials continue but the system born from the project is expected to be released in late 2021.

“To see how effortless it is to use our systems today versus when I started is impressive. The advanced perception system is designed to help the crew as ships transit. We are offering automated, 24/7 watchkeeping. It keeps a lookout all 120 degrees forward, picking up objects as small as a buoy. I have full trust in our systems, in terms of their reliability, in keeping people safe and ships on schedule.”

For the future of Sea Machines, Peter wants to see Sea Machines become the standard for big and small vessels alike.

“We have the technology to move the industry forward. What we’ve achieved is fantastic but more is in store.”