Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has partnered with Oki Electric Industry to launch a joint study of the OKI’s new ‘FlyingView’ bird’s-eye view monitoring system use.

The study was created to monitor a 360° field of view around a tugboat to ensure its reliable operations and safer berthing and unberthing.

To carry out a preliminary test, the monitoring system was installed on the Nihon Tug-Boat-owned tugboat Asaka Maru.

The tugboat is used to support large vessels. It relies on instructions, provided through the radio by the pilot onboard the target ship.

Due to its smaller size, only a small part of the vessel’s hull can be seen from tug’s bridge when the tugboat approaches to help the larger ship.  It creates a possibility of an accident if the large vessel collides with the tugboat.

During testing, OKI’s monitoring system set four fish-eye cameras on the mast and a digital compositing system and display in the bridge.

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The overall setting of the system enabled the captain to have a better understanding of conditions around the tugboat in real-time.

Using the new system, the tugboat was able to automatically calculate its distance from nearby obstacles and other vessels.

MOL said that the project forms part of a wider initiative ‘Focus Eye’, which seeks to make marine operations safer and more efficient by developing modern technologies.

The Japanese shipping firm already uses augmented reality (AR) in its AR Navigation System.

Recently, MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding received an approval in principle (AIP) from ship classification society ClassNK for hard sail system design.

In September, MOL developed an AI-powered vessel allocation and cargo loading plan for car carriers in collaboration with its group company MOL Information Systems and Osaka University.

During the same month, MOL and SenseTime Japan released a vessel image recognition and recording system to support automated monitoring of ships.