Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has signed an agreement with Japanese maritime electronics manufacturer Furuno Electric to jointly develop a voyage information display system using augmented reality (AR) technology to support ships during journeys.

The system is expected to aid the development of future autonomous ship operations and will be designed to provide helpful information, including the presence of other ships sailing around the vessel and landmarks such as buoys at sea.

“The images will overlap with AR to provide visuals to crew members during operation and help survey the ships throughout their voyages.”

The information will be displayable on tablets and other devices using data received from the automatic identification system (AIS), while some tablets will also be able to display images of landscapes taken from the bridge.

Additionally, the images will overlap with AR to provide visuals to crew members during operation and help survey the ships throughout their voyages.

MOL said in a statement: “MOL is looking at ways to overlap displays of obstacles taken by radar, adding an Obstacle Zone by Target (OZT), which is an algorithm to prevent collisions between vessels, and supplementing displays of obstacles using image recognition technologies to expand such functions.

“Functions will be improved during FY2018. In addition, MOL expects this technology to play a key role in realising autonomous ships in the future.”

MOL has also entered a deal with Rolls-Royce Marine to conduct a joint research regarding the development of an advisory type Intelligent Awareness System (IAS) as part of a separate development.

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The research is slated to make use of Rolls-Royce’s IAS, which will be installed on a ferry under the initiative.

The system will be based on new sensors for nautical instruments such as ship radar, as well as enable the detection of nearby ships and obstacles by integrating and evaluating the data obtained.

It is also expected to provide quick and accurate ship operation support information for officers on-board.