A three-year European research project called Co-operative and Adaptive Ship-based Context Aware Design (CASCADe) has developed new technologies to improve efficiency on-board and minimise the risk of accidents at sea.
This technological leap is deemed to address the increased number of accidents in and around EU waters as it has been estimated that about 80% of collisions and groundings of vessels take place due to a failure of bridge systems and their usage.
Part funded by the European Union (EU), CASCADe has developed an adaptive bridge design methodology that aims to integrate both human agents and electronic equipment into one network which will facilitate optimisation of the information shared.
Additionally, the programme has developed a touch screen ‘shared display’ to aid communication and cooperation on the bridge.
The feature can be customised to whatever configuration is most suitable for a particular situation and projects a comprehensive range of information on a single screen.
It offers functionality to graphically annotate maps, leave notes for other crew members or complete checklists electronically.
The CASCADe has also given access to extra information to crew members, otherwise restricted to the pilots by integrating the console with tools used by pilots in their Portable Pilot Units (PPUs).
In the first stage, it had coded a protocol to establish a link between the PPU and the ship’s electronic charts and then between the PPU and the bridge screens to display information from the PPU screen.
The CASCADe tools were tried on both a ship simulator used for training and a software-based simulation of a ship bridge.
The virtual simulator enables testing of new bridge designs in its early stages of development by means of computational models.
Under the coordination of the Oldenburg Research and Development Institute for Information Technology Tools and Systems (OFFIS), a group of seven project partners from five EU countries will work together to support the project.
The partners in the project include BMT Group, Raytheon Anschuetz, Mastermind Ship management, the University of Cardiff, Marimatech and Symbio Concepts & Products SPRL.
Maritime Cluster Northern Germany, Nautilus International, NSB Niederelbe Schiffahrtsgesellschaft and the University of Tasmania will also offer support to the project.
Image: A view of the CASCADe console. Photo: courtesy of BMT Group.