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MOL Collaborates with Furuno to Develop AR System that will Improve Shipping Operations

  • 26 December 2017
  • Jermaine Wright

Augmented reality is set to have a profound effect on the way companies do business across many industries. One such industry is shipping, as it won’t be long before shipping companies begin using the technology to improve business processes and efficiencies.

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) continues to accelerate the path towards autonomous ships.

The Japanese transport company today signed an agreement with USA maritime company Furuno Electric and MOL Techno-Trade to jointly develop an AR system that supports ship operation during voyages.

Based on data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS), information, such as other ships sailing around the vessel and landmarks like buoys at sea, can be shown on tablets and other displays.

Images of landscapes can also be shown on the same tablets. These images will overlap with AR to provide visual support to crewmembers operating ships and keeping watch during voyages.

MOL is looking into adding an obstacle zone by target (OZT) to overlap displays of obstacles taken by radar. This is an algorithm to prevent collisions between vessels, and supplementing displays of obstacles using image recognition technologies to expand such functions.

MOL has announced a number of initiatives from their smart ship pioneering campaign throughout 2017, which is an indication that AR adoption in the shipping industry might be around the corner.

AR can be adapted to virtually any industry and according to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) the technology will be the next step on the industry’s digitalization journey and will have a revolutionary impact.

PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ survey says the benefits to businesses include real-time delivery of relevant information to employees regardless of location, as well as the fact it will enable greater flexibility, increased operational mobility and improved efficiencies.

For example, for ship inspections, inspectors will no longer need to take additional equipment with them, because the questionnaire could be displayed directly in the room and pictures could be taken with the camera within the device.

Engineers will also benefit from being able to highlight certain engine areas for maintenance purposes. AR will allow them to see an entire ship in 3D and examine specific parts of the vessel without even being on board.

According to PWC, due to the many possibilities, AR offers to display various kinds of operational and productivity data, such as the movement of fleets, management teams are initially expected to benefit the most from the technology.

The further the technology advances, the more areas of application will be found.

About Jermaine Wright

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