For a long time, simulator training has been an essential part in the training of seafarers. With a new virtual reality extension, it is now possible to train scenarios in a more immersive way.

Aboa Mare together with CTRL Reality have created a virtual reality extension to simulator bridges for training emergency steering. With the implemented solution, the trainees can now step into the steering gear compartment in virtual reality and steer the vessel by operating the virtual levers.

The steering gear compartment is created as a virtual reality application that communicates with the simulator in real time. In the exercise, one trainee acts as the officer on the watch giving instructions through a phone connection to the other trainee in the steering gear room. The compass and rudder angles are shown both in the virtual meters of the VR steering gear compartment and physical meters at the simulator bridge. The steering manoeuvres from the steering gear compartment are relayed to the simulator.

“Aboa Mare has for decades provided the latest technologies and pedagogics for its clients. Virtual reality extended simulations are the next chapter on this path and we are proud to provide this to our clients as the first ones in the world,” says Micael Vuorio, Head of Maritime Academy and Training Center, Aboa Mare.

The virtual reality realization has been carefully designed to make it as easy and fluent to use as possible. The virtual steering gear compartment has already been tested by several shipping companies. The test persons were experienced seafarers with no previous experience in using virtual reality and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “The virtual reality application provides a surprisingly realistic scene and function of a steering gear room”, describes Safety Manager, Carolus Ramsay from Finnlines Plc.

The virtual reality application has been developed by CTRL Reality Ltd. “We have created a number of applications for different training scenarios but this is the first time we implemented a real-time connection to a physical simulator”, explains CEO Teijo Lehtonen from CTRL Reality Ltd. “This realization is novel even globally and we believe that similar approaches may be of great benefit to other sectors as well”, he adds.

Continuous safety training is a vital part of the safety culture in the maritime sector. Aboa Mare has long offered Simulator Training in Critical Situations for training emergency and unexpected situations. The training will always be adjusted to the specific needs of the customer. The virtual emergency steering compartment is available as a part of this training but it can also be provided as an independent training. New virtual reality training scenarios are also planned based on the proposals from our clients.