Enhancing safety through intelligent data fusion.
Helping crews see the bigger picture
Our pioneering Intelligent Awareness (IA) system represents a major advance in ship safety.
The system is the first of our Ship Intelligence, remote and autonomous solutions to be developed for commercial marine application. Combining multiple sensors with intelligent software, IA is designed to mitigate the risks navigators face, especially in poor weather conditions, congested waters or at night. Essentially, it gives the master and bridge personnel a supreme understanding of the ship’s surroundings.
IA builds on our extensive experience in research into autonomous vessels, gained through participation in the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications project.
Seeing what the human eye cannot
IA is particularly beneficial for the safe navigation of busy ports or challenging environments, such as dense fog causing poor visibility in busy shipping channels.
The system builds a 3D map of the vessel based on light detection and ranging (LIDAR), which uses a pulsed laser beam to measure distances. Already in use in autonomous road vehicles, it links to GPS data to create 3D environments, allowing crews to ‘see’ what the human eye can’t.
LIDAR creates a ‘point cloud,’ firing about 300,000 beams of light from a laser and then measuring the time taken to reflect them back to source to render a 3D map.
Further spatial information is gathered from on-board HD cameras, linked to software which can identify vessels or objects and apply learning algorithms to determine characteristics, such as how fast a vessel travels or stops.
LIDAR, GPS, camera data, radar and AIS combine through what we refer to as 'data fusion' to provide those controlling the ship with a complete overview of its surroundings. A ship’s crew can then switch between a 3D map rendered by LIDAR, a radar overlay or a topographical view of the seabed.
Markus Hirvonen, Technical Product Manager – Situational Awareness Systems, said: “We can use IA in any ship type where there’s a need for better situational awareness. The system is the first of its kind to be made commercially available, using data in a clear user interface to enhance safety and efficiency.”
“IA is a fantastic product with so much potential. It was launched at a cruise event because at present we see IA’s greatest benefits in passenger shipping, but as other sensors and applications are added to the platform other high-value ship types, such as large container ships, will follow.”
Sunflower partnership blossoms
We have entered into a co-operation agreement with Japanese multi-modal transport company Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) to develop its IA system. A system will be installed on board the 165m passenger ferry Sunflower, which operates between Kobe and Oita in Japan.
“Sunflower operates in some of the most congested waters in the world and will provide an opportunity to rigorously test the IA system. We also expect it to provide our crews with a more informed view of a vessel’s surroundings in an accessible and user-friendly way.“