From: Motor Ship
Faced with rising costs, demands for higher efficiency, and potential difficulties caused by more complex ships being operated by crew with lower levels of competence, the company sees the future in taking control off the ships themselves and moving it to control centres onshore. But as a first step, Rolls-Royce is making onboard operation simpler and more uniform, through its ‘oX bridge’.
Rolls-Royce predicts ships will require high levels of data analysis to operate on-board systems to manage propulsion, navigation and other systems. Together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the company has developed its futuristic ship’s bridge concept, which it believes could become reality by 2025.
Rolls-Royce, VTT researchers and Aalto University have combined their efforts on the new bridge, known as the Future Operator Experience Concept or ‘oX’. It offers the crew smart workstations, which automatically recognise individuals when they walk into the bridge, and adjust to their own preferences.
The windows of the bridge serve as augmented reality displays of the vessel’s surroundings, including visualisation of potential hazards that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye, in similar fashion to the ‘head up displays’ that have been standard in aerospace technology for many years. The system can, for example, pinpoint sea ice or tug boats and other craft that may not be visible to the crew, especially on large container ships.
Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce, president marine, said: “We are entering a truly exciting period in the history of shipping, where technology, and in particular the smart use of big data is going to drive the next generation of ships. Over the next ten to 20 years we believe ship intelligence is going to be the driving force that will determine the future of our industry, the type of ships at sea, and the competence levels required from tomorrow’s seafarers.