e-Navigation Solutions Tested on Navigators


Published Jun 19, 2017 8:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

The E.U.-funded EfficienSea2 project has evaluated the human impact of a wide variety of e-Navigation solutions through a full-scale simulation test.

The simulations, which involved eight navigators and took four days, were conducted at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and focused on the human factors in e-Navigation. Multiple services, ranging from a digitized form of navigational warnings to an interactive VTS-reporting system, were tested by the mariners on a full-bridge simulator while wearing eye-trackers and galvanic skin response devices to detect emotional changes.

The simulations aim to ensure that the new services offer fewer burdens for navigators while exploiting the benefits of the digital tools. The project is developing a range of services including:

 * Maritime Safety Information and Notices to Mariners: Standardized service provided in a user-friendly and optimized format allowing for better promulgation and for intuitive, graphical portrayal on electronic chart displays. 

 * Meteorological Information on Route: Standardized meteorological and oceanographic information service allowing for integration on multiple platforms.

 * Ice Charts: Standardized services allowing for visualization and electronic chart display of ice occurrences on different platforms without using broadband.

 * Crowd Sourcing of Ice Information: Service for gathering and sharing information about ice conditions, such as safe passage, ice thickness and icebergs.

 * Nautical Charts based on S100 Standards: Example charts in new internationally agreed format allowing for better update schemes, integration with different data types and better data maintenance schemes.

 * Smart Buoy Interaction: Service for interaction with buoys providing light intensity control and access to meteorological sensors.

 * Route Optimization: Standardized and easily accessible service for acquiring an optimized route for a vessel.

 * Route Exchange: Service for exchanging information (ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore) about vessels’ intended routes.

 * No-go Areas and Comfort Zones: Services allowing for the merger of a variety of data, such as draft, bathymetry and tidal levels, into simpler information indicating where a vessel can operate safely.

Mads Friis Sørensen, Project Manager for EfficienSea2 and Senior Adviser at the Danish Maritime Authority, said: “We have what appear to be endless possibilities with modern technology, but there is a danger of over-complicating things for the navigator. The solutions we develop must relieve pressure – not add complexity – so navigators can focus on performing their primary duty, which is to sail the ship safely.”

The EfficienSea2 project has built the web-based platform BalticWeb which was used during the simulation to present the new services to the mariners. The navigators were first asked to plan their route using tools from the BalticWeb and then later had the chance to use the different services when doing the full-bridge simulation.

Users require an account for the Maritime Cloud to exploit the different services developed by EfficienSea2 presented on BalticWeb. The Cloud is the innovation centerpiece of the EfficienSea2 project and acts as an intelligent, automated communication framework for information sharing in the maritime domain. All finished services can be found through the Cloud in a standardized format, and it will be possible for private developers and authorities to register individual services for mariners to find.

A standardized data exchange guideline potentially covering all technical e-Navigation services has been agreed by an international committee under the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). The guideline can stand alone, but it is also compatible with the Maritime Cloud.

Human factors testing is an integral part of the EfficienSea2 project, and the 32 project partners involved all work to develop solutions with an eye towards the impact on the mariners. The project also includes Force Technology and Chalmers University of Technology, both leaders in the field of human element and human-machine interfaces.