New Rolls-Royce system offers bird's-eye view for navigation


The following is text of a news release from Rolls-Royce:

(LONDON) — Rolls-Royce has unveiled a situational awareness system that fuses multiple sensors with intelligent software to mitigate against the safety risks navigators face when operating vessels at night, in adverse weather conditions or in congested waterways.

Officially introduced Tuesday during the Seatrade Cruise Global event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the Rolls-Royce Intelligent Awareness (IA) system is the first of its kind to be made commercially available that uses data collection to enhance navigational safety and operational efficiency.

Essentially what IA does is fuse the data from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive overview of the vessel’s external situation, in four user interface modes; virtual reality (2D and 3D), augmented reality and precision mode.

Building on the findings from its participation in the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) project and the customer collaboration programs with Stena and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Rolls-Royce has been able to develop technology that creates a 3D map of a vessel based on light detection and ranging (LIDAR). This is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser beam to measure distances. It can be linked to GPS data to create 3D environments that allow crews to see what the human eye cannot.

“We can use the IA system in any ship where there is a need for better situational awareness, particularly during night-time sailings or in adverse weather conditions,” said Iiro Lindborg, Rolls-Royce general manager, remote and autonomous operations. “It provides an advisory solution to supplement basic information available from ECDIS and radar, with the LIDAR 3D map creating an accurate bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.”

An IA system will be installed on board the passenger ferry Sunflower, which Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) operates between Kobe and Oita, Japan, via the Akashi Kaikyo, Bisan Seto and Kurushima straits.

Explaining the reason behind the decision to install IA, MOL Director Kenta Arai said, “Sunflower ferry operates in some of the most congested waters in the world and will provide an opportunity to test rigorously Rolls-Royce’s intelligent awareness system. This can give our crews an enhanced decision support tool, increasing their safety and that of our vessels.”

By Professional Mariner Staff