Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Make it so: VTT and Rolls-Royce imagine the ship's bridge of 2025

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March 17, 2014

The bridge of 2025 will use a computerized workstation

The bridge of 2025 will use a computerized workstation

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Horatio Hornblower meets Jean-Luc Picard on the ship’s bridge of 2025 as Finnish applied research organization VTT and Rolls-Royce present their vision of seafaring ten years from now. Presented in 3D animation videos that projects current technology to the near future, the study shows a world where ship captains call on heads-up displays and high-tech workstations turn the bridge into an augmented reality command and control system.

What will the bridges of tugs, cargo ships, and platform supply vessels be like in 2025? Rolls-Royce Marine, VTT, and Aalto University have attempted to answer that question as part of a Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster (FIMECC) User experience and usability in complex systems (UXUS) program. The project, which wound up in 2013, was based on studies of crew operations, and drew on input from crew members, ship captains and first mates. The resulting augmented bridge workstation designs have been converted into 3D animations produced by TrollVFX.

A major part of the program is the Rolls-Royce OX concept, which presents a personalized bridge that’s more like something out of Thunderbirds than Moby Dick. The conventional helm is replaced by a workstation that identifies different users and adjusts the helm station to custom presets for chair adjustment, and control and display configurations. The windows form an adjustable heads-up display with visual augmentation that enhances situational awareness. With this, the captain can “see through” the deck, so a crewman is visible on the augmented display even if the deck or equipment is in the way.

The heads-up display provides 'see through' vision

The screen can also show the route of one’s own ship and others, obstacles hidden by fog and other weather conditions, thermal night vision, sea ice conditions along the planned route, share points of view with deckhands and enhance them with augmented markers, and share information in real time between two vessels.

"The project has successfully combined experience-driven design, in-depth psychological and operational analysis of tasks, and the envisioning of future technological solutions, and has packaged them in the form of impressive, futuristic videos that will inspire actors in this field to adopt user experience based solutions," says UXUS Manager Maaria Nuutinen.

The heads-up display shows information from other ships

Another FIMECC UXUS project, which is ongoing and involves VTT, Rolls-Royce Marine and University of Tampere, is looking at remote control of ships as a way of improving efficiency and safety, and cutting energy costs. The partners point out that remote control from the bridge or ashore are already used for some ship operations and that it would be possible to remotely operate a vessel using current technology. However, legal clearance and public approval would be required.

The project studying remote ship operation is scheduled to continue until 2015.

The animations showing the bridge of 2025 in action can be viewed below.

Source: VTT

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
4 Comments

It was only a matter of a few weeks ago that RR told us that in future ships would not have a crew at all, so who is this designed for?

Oh, I get it, this installation - and a whole load of others, one for each ship in the fleet - is located in some heavily fortified building somewhere in the countryside. Everything on the 'outside' of the bridge will be part of a Matrix type of virtual reality, including the ship itself. If that is the case, then the words "Windows has encountered a problem and is ..." might just be the start of quite a major incident.

Mel Tisdale
18th March, 2014 @ 05:23 am PDT

I can imagine captains lusting after that, deckhands really hating to wear the tracking device that tells the captain where your body is at all times, and owners saying, "Yes, that's very nice, but can we just install the part that give the head's up view on the left, and put the rest of the information on these monitors we already have? That's all we absolutely need right now."

John Banister
18th March, 2014 @ 08:34 am PDT

This type of "future development" is -exactly- why I disliked Star Trek, the television series. Of all functions to be removed from human calculation, navigation is the easiest, and "set a course for the Alpha Quadrant" would be handled by computers long long long before space ships roamed the galaxies, not some guy standing near the "captain" and listening to voice commands with the human ear. And the captain as well....heck, all the crew, could be replaced by systems. And here in the 21st Century, simple earth-bound sailing ships will soon be outperforming the Starship Enterprise.

Scott in California
18th March, 2014 @ 11:52 am PDT

Thought RR wanted drone cargo ships, this bridge is for Manned use.

vividvisionary
18th March, 2014 @ 04:07 pm PDT
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