Together, Hilo, TORM, and audEERING have been working on a Safetytech Accelerator pilot to measure the effect organizational drivers and modifications to the living/working environment have on the mental health of seafarers.
he aim of the pilot was to use crew dialogue to understand their mental wellbeing, and was conducted in partnership with TORM who provided one of their vessels and its crew to participate in this trial for a period of 3 months.
The crew were provided with a brochure explaining the aims of the pilot, the mechanics around recordings and how privacy would be preserved. Each crew member also gave consent for recordings to be used in this pilot.
Two types of voice recordings were taken from the ship
- Passive recordings – Background conversations from the bridge obtained from the ship’s Voyage Data Recorder using 6 microphone channels.
- Individual recordings for each seafarer participating in the pilot
- Start: a baseline survey at the beginning of the pilot
- Daily: a short survey asking the individual to perform pre-set tasks such as describing work tasks and counting
- Weekly: a 15-minute survey to provide a view of the ship’s health status
- Final survey
The recordings were analysed post-voyage using the audEERING platform to identify aggregated emotions of sadness, pleasure, joy, anger along with subsets of these.
The voice recordings were correlated with actual ship activity data obtained from Hilo’s maritime decision support platform.
31 crew members participated in this pilot over multiple voyages between December 2022 and February 2023.
- Stress levels from individual recordings were found to be lower than those in passive recordings.
- The emotions uncovered in the passive recordings could be used as a proxy for stress in the ship’s bridge.
- This pilot showed that the system could correctly identify more variance and higher intensity of emotions during the dynamic loading phases compared to calmer open water periods of the voyages.
- For instance, the heatmaps below show stress detected from all passive radio channels during port and open-water activities. Brighter colours signify greater intensity of emotions.
- The preliminary results obtained through the pilot showed that audEERING audio analytics has a strong potential to be able to detect automatically, and anonymously, the general wellbeing of the crew, or in particular areas of the ship such as the bridge.
It is worth noting the pilot did not aim to reduce mental wellbeing issues among seafarers per se but exploring if and how using voice as an anonymous indicator of crew wellbeing could allow fleet owners and operators to measure it in a tangible manner and support the development of more improvement strategies.
This innovative project presents the opportunity to identify the links between seafarer stress and incidents at sea. The initial project gave some valuable insights, with the potential to grow into a powerful tool for protecting seafarers.
… said Andy Cross, COO at Hilo
Dr Florian Eyben, CTO & Co-Founder at audEERING GmbH, also stated that they believe that vocal expression analysis can be a valuable indicator for upcoming critical situations, and that it can be used together with other indicators to prevent incidents.
Beyond this pilot which was conducted on a single ship, the next step is to scale up the recordings across a fleet to compare aggregated mental wellbeing between vessels. The pilot partners have expressed an interest in exploring a follow-up with a larger pilot.
These technologies have the potential to save lives but their adoption is not just about what the technology can do, it is also and especially about taking human factors into consideration.
… said Dr. Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director at Safetytech Accelerator