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Canadian Navy Trials Augmented Reality for Shipboard Maintenance

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Video still courtesy Kognitiv Spark

By The Maritime Executive 2019-04-02 14:15:31

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is now testing augmented reality glasses for aiding maintenance and repair work aboard naval vessels. 

The system, which the RCN calls Mixed Reality Remote Assistant Support (MIRRAS), is based on Kognitiv Spark's software for the Microsoft HoloLens, an off-the-shelf augmented reality (AR) device. According to Kognitiv, the software integrates artificial intelligence and augmented reality to make ship repairs, maintenance and knowledge transfer more efficient. It will be used by the RCN's marine technicians and weapons engineering technicians under way. 

For remote maintenance, an expert on shore can see what the HoloLens wearer sees from anywhere in the world. The expert can provide guidance using real-time voice and video, interactive 3D holograms and content, and live IoT data. The technician can also use locally stored data when a remote expert isn't available.

“Innovation and technological advancement are critical to the future of the Royal Canadian Navy,” said RAdm Casper Donovan, Director General Future Ship Capability for the RCN. “The Mixed Reality Remote Assistant Support system is an exciting tool, because it may provide our sailors with the opportunity to explore a new, and potentially much more efficient way of conducting onboard maintenance.”

According to Duncan McSporran, a former military officer and the cofounder and COO of Kognitiv Spark, 3D content is more easily interpreted than paper manuals, and therefore reduces mental fatigue. Independent studies in manufacturing environments have found that the use of 3D work instructions lead to faster delivery times and higher efficencies than when using equivalent 2D drawings. 

In one notable application, Boeing has deployed a similar AR device to deliver work guidance for the assembly of complex wiring harnesses, improving productivity and reducing confusion.