Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has announced plans to install an Augmented Reality (AR)-based navigation system on 21 very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs), following successful trial installations on two new vessels delivered in 2018.
The first of MOL’s next-generation FLEXIE Series car carriers, Beluga Ace, delivered in March 2018, and the VLCC Suzukasan, delivered in October 2018, have carried out demonstration tests of the technology prior to the decision to commit to this wider scale roll-out.
The AR system, developed in cooperation with Furuno Electric Co, displays information about other vessels sailing on a ship’s planned route on tablets or other digital displays, as well as incorporating details about surrounding sea areas and other ocean conditions, such as shallow waters.
Information from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and radar are integrated with real-time video images from the bridge camera, utilising Furuno’s FMD3300 ECDIS equipment, to visually present the information to seafarers to assist in situational awareness.
The AR technology is able to superimpose real-time video imagery and voyage information on top of the picture usually seen from bridge windows to allow this wide range of data to be more easily understood by crews during operations.
The AR technology will now be commercialised under the Furuno Electric brand and installed on MOL’s VLCC fleet, before being rolled-out at a later date to the rest of the company’s energy transport fleet, including LNG carriers, as well as its dry bulkers.