During the 2023 SMART4SEA Forum, Mr. Ross Millar, Loss Prevention Associate, Steamship Mutual, gave a presentation titled “Augmented Reality adoption: Prospects & Hurdles for Navigational Safety in Shipping”, explaining the benefits of such systems, which training standards are vital and what kind of experience is needed towards.
What does navigational safety mean for a person, a business, or an industry?
A variety of measures have been put in place to increase the safety of ships at sea. Some of these span different parts of the industry:
- Pilotage or vessel traffic services.
- Procedural, such as ship routing schemes.
- Others involve the use of technology, such as ECDIS, AIS, and the advancement of hydrographic information and data.
- One goal in mind: to increase maritime safety.
This technology will be utilised in conjunction with officers to improve or supplement bridge operations at all stages of a voyage. Instead of replacing human expertise, computer processing capacity can be used and combined with it, increasing productivity on the bridge and ensuring navigation and cargo tasks are carried out safely and efficiently.
What this technology is and how it is employed?
- Augmented Reality (AR) is the most recent advancement in a long series of technology that began with military planes. For decades, fighter jet pilots have employed head-up displays and other enhanced flight systems to gain a tactical advantage in the airspace over battles.
- VR entails depriving one or more of your senses.
- Provide to the pilot with the information they require without having to look down at the instruments, boosting situational awareness, and lowering workload on the flight deck.
- AR goes this a step further by allowing the pilots to view out the window and see important information as they move about the aircraft, rather than just the static display.
This type of technology:
- Improves situation awareness.
- Reduces workload during critical navigation periods such as approaching or departing ports.
- Operates in low visibility or busy shipping lanes by assisting the mariner by analysing vessel movements and only including other vessels that pose a risk to your vessel in transit by analysing vessel movements and only including other vessels that pose a risk to your vessel in transit.
The systems also have an unrivalled ability to take information from a variety of sources, process it, and prioritise it, simplifying the information that the OOW must focus on.
In a congested shipping lane, for example, an AR system can identify, observe, and prioritise vessels that may be of concern to the office of the watch, increasing situational awareness, decreasing workload, and allowing the OOW to focus on what is of urgent concern to the vessel’s safety.
Using these methods, advancements in data technology may be swiftly disseminated to sailors, and historical information, such as a port accepting deep-drafted vessels, can be analysed in the design stages to develop awareness of any special concerns with a port. For example, you will be able to observe how vessels of a given draught arrive and exit a port, as well as if anything has to be discussed or raised with the pilot, which will then be overlay on the augmented reality display.
However, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality) are far from flawless and are still in their infancy.
- The system will always work within the constraints of the programming that surrounds it.
- While AI is capable of learning and adapting to its surroundings, the computer must understand what is going on around it and how to respond to it depending on context and information received.
- Unknown variables that exist but have not been previously described may pose problems with the systems, and this is where the marriage of human input and technology is critical.
AR could be used to reduce the number and severity of incidents, but if applied incorrectly, it may not result in the desired impact – a reduction in incidents and casualties – but rather an increase due to other causes resulting from the use, or reliance, on technology.
Will this be implemented on smaller vessels that do not pose substantial liabilities?
At the moment, probably not, because the installation and maintenance costs are prohibitively expensive. This may change as the price falls. However, for an FCC container vessel with a $65 million hull value and potentially more than $1 billion in cargo, the liabilities that could be incurred if the vessel is subject to a casualty event may make these systems an appealing option, not only for prevention but also for robustly defending any such claims that may be generated in the future.
Above article has been edited from Mr. Ross Millar presentation during the 2023 SMART4SEA Athens Forum.
Explore more by watching his video presentation herebelow
The views presented are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
Leave a Reply