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Passenger Ship Technology

Passenger Ship Technology

E-navigation and advanced radar gain momentum on the bridge

Thu 31 May 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

E-navigation and advanced radar gain momentum on the bridge
Raytheon Anschütz introduced a bridge integration platform to its INS (credit: Riviera Maritime Media)

Wärtsilä, Sperry Marine and Raytheon Anschütz have advanced their bridge technology, while passenger ship operators can add extras such as Farsounder’s echosounder or ChartCo’s ECDIS overlays

Manufacturers are developing new radar, e-navigation and surveillance technology for integrated bridge systems on cruise ships and ferries.

Wärtsilä is developing new technology for passenger ships using experience from two companies it acquired in the last 12 months, and claims to be supplying 85% of bridge equipment to cruise ship newbuildings with its NACOS Platinum integrated navigation system (INS)*.

Following the acquisition of UK-based Guidance Marine in 2017, Wärtsilä is developing a smart docking product passenger ships could use to reduce risks during port visits. Smart Quay uses distance and position measuring sensors that use radar, cameras and laser, said Wärtsilä product manager for navigation products Eberhard Maass.

“We produced a pilot of a device for measuring distances to piers using infrared and high-definition cameras,” he told Passenger Ship Technology. “It is for large cruise ships and very large container ships with information for docking ships of increasing size.”

Wärtsilä is considering integrating some of this technology into NACOS Platinum workstations. “We are generating solutions for extended and augmented reality (ER/AR) and overlaying information on camera feeds, such as speed and distance information, which is under testing,” said Mr Maass.

“We are also testing LiDAR [light detection and ranging] technology, and will be integrating these sensors into NACOS Platinum with some type of AR capability in the future. We eventually want to use this technology on bridge windows, but first it will go on workstations.”

From the acquisition of Transas, which was completed in May this year, Wärtsilä is adding e-navigation technology to NACOS Platinum, building on its existing ECDIS solutions.

“E-navigation is connecting ships and harbours”

“We have started to do integrated streams and turn ECDIS ideas into e-navigation,” said Mr Maass. “E-navigation is connecting ships and harbours.” Wärtsilä and Transas are both involved in the Sea Traffic Management (STM) project in the Baltic and North seas.

“STM is the first step towards e-navigation,” said Mr Maass. “It defines standards for data exchange between ships and shore with a standard route format.” STM makes it possible to exchange routes, then “to optimise routes and transmit route information with other ships” he explained. Data includes vessel position and speed using the Automatic Identification System, but with information on the intended route with waypoints behind and in front.

This means “masters can predict movement and possible manoeuvres of surrounding ships, which should increase safety at sea” said Mr Maass. “Our ECDIS on board have been configured to handle STM requirements in Europe.”

Wärtsilä is also developing its own solid state technology for S-band radar and expects this to be available, along with Smart Quay, in Q4 2018. “Furthermore, we are merging different radar video from S-band and X-band radar feeds in one layer to get advantages from both,” Mr Maass explained.

“We are merging different radar video from S-band and X-band radar feeds in one layer to get advantages from both”

“We are also introducing non-SOLAS applications in the SOLAS world, such as ice and wave radar applications by using different video processing algorithms presenting the result in similar human-machine interfaces.” There is interest from operators of expedition cruise ships for these technologies for ice navigation.

There is also interest from cruise ships operating in China and the Caribbean for radar that can identify and track small objects such as fishing boats. “It is difficult to track these small targets and so we have integrated infrared cameras with target tracking capabilities into NACOS Platinum.”

Sperry Marine is testing a new radar platform as part of its VisionMaster Net integrated bridge system that can identify and track small objects in water, such as passengers overboard and fishing vessels.

This involves VisionMaster SeaGuard, a new surveillance radar that operates in all weather conditions and wave heights, said Sperry Marine head of product line management Ralf Magner.

VisionMaster SeaGuard uses an “X-band fixed-phase wave beam and six different waves on different frequencies, so it is not affected in harsh environments and can detect small objects” Mr Magner told PST.

Network-based VisionMaster Net enables operators to switch workstation displays from radar to active overlays on ECDIS. The VisionMaster SeaGuard antenna is enhanced for different types of targets, such as ice.

“Cruise ships need ice navigation for iceberg expeditions in winter and detection of small vessels for summer cruises”

“Cruise ships need ice navigation for iceberg expeditions in winter and detection of small vessels for summer cruises,” said Mr Magner. Sperry supplies integrated bridge systems on cruise ships and high-speed craft with radar and autopilots. “We also supply passenger ferries that have enhanced security standards.”

On the e-navigation side, Sperry Marine is trialling a back-of-the-bridge voyage planning system for automatic route exchange and chart updates. “We are looking at remote assistance and remote maintenance of bridge systems for passenger ships to minimise downtime,” said Mr Magner.

Raytheon Anschütz developed its Synapsis NX as an INS* based entirely on a LAN-based system, which means radar video and all sensor data is transmitted over LAN. There is a common software backbone, which is a bridge integration platform (BIP) that manages all routes, charts and tracks. BIP performs the central services of an INS, such as data integrity monitoring, target management or alert management.

BIP ensures an entirely consistent presentation and handling of data or alarms throughout the system. The navigator can handle any task or attend to any situation from any workstation, and only has to interact with a single system.

Raytheon Anschütz adopted a new course of continuous user participation and user workshops when it designed new navigation software. The goal was to design intuitive and consistent user interfaces and operation concepts, which meet or even exceed the expectations of the operators. These support navigators’ common interaction patterns with regard to daily tasks and use cases. In July 2017, Raytheon Anschütz introduced its new ECDIS NX as its first navigation system featuring the user interface design.

Navigation extras

Farsounder’s forward looking sonar can be included in integrated bridge systems. It enables navigators to see what is in front of them underwater in 3D and in real-time. Farsounder’s technology can reach up to 1,000 m in front of the ship and can detect icebergs, reefs, shipping containers, large whales and other navigation obstructions.

Sonar images and can be overlaid on S57 and S63 nautical charts.​ Farsounder said this closes any gaps in navigation information for bridge teams. Ships can use this information to explore new areas and poorly charted or uncharted waters safely while avoiding any dangerous obstacles that may be in the water column. 

ChartCo’s EnviroManager can clearly display on ECDIS the distance from the nearest land as measured from the country’s official baseline, as opposed to the shoreline on navigational charts. This helps ships comply with a range of environmental regulations on air emissions, bilge water, sewage, garbage, food waste and ballast disposal.

EnviroManager product manager Per Österberg said cruise ships would benefit from using this to “remain compliant with environmental regulations, avoid fines, maximise profits and protect their reputations”.

This product will display a ship’s position with contoured shading to show its distance from a country’s baseline so crew can see at a glance whether it is in a particular zone. “This allows them to quickly establish which discharges can or cannot be made both at the vessel’s current position and at any point along its planned route, enabling forward planning,” said Mr Österberg. For example, EnviroManager integrates all current Ballast Water Management Convention information including nationally designated Ballast Water Exchange Areas.


*INS means it complies with IMO Performance Standard MSC 252(83) for integrated navigation systems

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