Vessel operators need to prepare for the emergence of artificial intelligence and further digitalisation across their dynamic positioning systems
As the process of digitalisation advances, DNV GL segment director for offshore service vessels Arnstein Eknes explained to delegates at the European Dynamic Positioning Conference in London how offshore vessel owners can make greater use of artificial intelligence (AI).
He noted that AI can be used to support dynamic positioning (DP) operators in their operational decision making and to enable remote operations. For DP systems, AI can help identify issues and run self-diagnostics. “Systems can do self-checks and self-validation, so operators can then focus on the reality of the job and prepare for emergencies,” said Mr Eknes.
AI can also be put to use in the development the remote operation of OSVs. An ever-growing number of sensors will deliver large volumes of data to be processed by algorithms, potentially facilitating autonomous support vessels.
Solstad Offshore explained how it transitioned from paper-based DP assurance annual trials to a digital system. Its operations director for subsea construction John Steiner Sund outlined some of the lessons it learnt from using digital workflows for DP trials.
The company used UniSea and Global Maritime software for remote DP trials on 14 vessels from its fleet of 150 ships. The first remote DP trial was performed on the DP3 subsea construction support vessel Normand Installer.
Mr Sund said digitalisation had helped improve efficiencies and the reduce costs involved in the annual DP trails. “It gives us flexibility, as trials can be carried out whenever the crew has time and then validated from shore,” he said. “It increases utilisation, saves on costs and increases revenue.”
Now, UniSea’s software has been integrated into Solstad’s own programs: “Digitalisation and remote DP trials are a way forward for the industry,” said Mr Sund.
UniSea chief executive Kurt Roar Vilhelmsen explained that Solstad needed to be able to trust the data on board its vessels and in the shore offices. This is why UniSea data is encrypted and compressed: "Our data is on the cloud and is secure, so people in the office can see data on all the vessels in the fleet or a segment of the fleet."
All Offshore managing director Dan Endersby also described how programs can be used to support DP operator decisions, onboard training and the remote management of DP systems.
He reviewed the data that these programs have obtained during a year-long trial and noted that DP time “provides information of the operational experience in both quantitative and qualitative formats for the benefit for all offshore stakeholders.”