Guidance Marine’s targetless technology has won OSJ’s Dynamic Positioning Award, having recently received DNV GL type approval
Classification society DNV GL recently approved Guidance Marine’s SceneScan position reference system; that system has now won the Dynamic Positioning award, sponsored by Damen Shipyards Group, at Riviera Maritime Media’s Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards and Exhibition.
Unlike traditional position reference sensors, SceneScan works without the need for pre-placed positioning targets. It is a high-accuracy rotating laser sensor that provides positional data to allow automated approach and station keeping relative to a structure or vessel.
The tracking information is relative to natural or artificial structures within the sensor’s field of view and matches the sensor’s current observation of the scene against a map generated from previous observations.
Guidance Marine business development manager Sasha Heriot explained how SceneScan differs to other sensors. “Traditionally, position reference sensors rely on targets on assets,” she said. “SceneScan means the vessel is completely independent of its environment, so the vessel can go to any oil platform without having been there before and it can navigate from the platform,” Ms Heriot explained.
The system has been tested on OSVs operated by P&O Maritime Logistics and an LNG bunker vessel owned by Bernhard Schulte. DNV GL’s type approval tests were carried out on bunker vessel Kairos during December 2019, after it was installed in October 2019 by the ship’s crew.
Bernhard Schulte Germany technical superintendent for LNG bunker vessels Jann Voss said SceneScan assisted in the safe manoeuvring of Kairos during bunkering operations.
In January 2020, Kairos transferred 1800 m3 of LNG to DEME’s offshore installation vessel, Orion in the port of Rostock. Its safe manoeuvring and final mooring position were performed using SceneScan.
SceneScan’s laser uses a simultaneous location and mapping algorithm to produce a virtual image of its surroundings and nearby structures, such as platforms, floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels, or floating production units.
Its laser takes an initial reference scan of the scene and following scans then match to this initial scan, inferring the sensor motion between the scans. “The laser scans a 2D slice of the area and then continues for a 3D map of the facilities,” said Guidance Marine optical technology group manager David McKnight. “We extended this technique to compensate for sea movements against the 3D map of the initial surroundings.
“Early results showed good tracking against a range of vessel and offshore structure types,” said Mr McKnight. Testing was done on an OSV operating around a drillship and another around a tension-leg platform with a connected accommodation vessel. “We also tested SceneScan against an FPSO in the Gulf of Mexico for a month, with the vessel tracking the hull and the topsides,” said Mr McKnight.
“There was adequate positioning when the vessel was in parallel and perpendicular to the FPSO hull, and its best performance was when it was close to the asset,” said Mr McKnight.
Guidance Marine is developing SceneScan for vessels operating around offshore windfarms. It is developing algorithms to map wind turbines for service vessels to operate on DP during maintenance operations.