Wärtsilä and Sperry Marine are separately developing radar for identifying small objects, ice navigation and for docking assistance
As radar technology for shipping progresses, Wärtsilä and Sperry Marine are testing new radar platforms and are planning to present them at the SMM exhibition in Hamburg, Germany in September.
Wärtsilä is developing its own solid-state technology for S-band radar and expects this to be available in Q4 2018, said Wärtsilä product manager for navigation products Eberhard Maass. “We are merging different radar video from S-band and X-band radar feeds in one layer to get advantages from both,” Mr Maass explained.
It is introducing applications for SOLAS ships, such as ice navigation and wave measurements by using video processing algorithms and presenting the information on human-machine interfaces within Wärtsilä NACOS Platinum integrated bridge systems. “There is interest from operators of expedition cruise ships for these technologies for ice navigation,” said Mr Maass.
Wärtsilä also intends to unveil Smart Quay, a smart docking product, at the SMM exhibition. This uses technology developed by UK-based Guidance Marine, which Wärtsilä acquired in 2017, for measuring the distance and position of ships from a quayside by combining radar, cameras, laser sensors and data processing, said Mr Maass.
“We produced in pilot a device for measuring distances to piers using infrared and high definition cameras,” he said. This could be used by very large crude carriers, cruise ships and ultra-large container ships for docking.
Wärtsilä is considering integrating some of this technology into NACOS Platinum workstations this year. “We are generating solutions for extended and augmented reality (ER/AR) and overlaying information on camera feeds, such as speed and distance information, which is under testing,” said Mr Maass.
“We are also testing LiDAR [light detection and ranging] technology, and will be integrating these sensors into NACOS Platinum with some type of AR capability in the future. We eventually want to use this technology on bridge windows, but first it will go on workstations.”
“Radar must have high safety standards and be able to detect and track smaller objects”
Sperry Marine is testing a new radar platform as part of its VisionMaster Net integrated bridge system. It is trialling this radar platform to verify it can identify and track small objects in water, such as passengers overboard and fishing vessels.
This uses VisionMaster SeaGuard, a new surveillance radar that operates in all weather conditions and wave heights, said Sperry Marine head of product line management Ralf Magner. “It uses the latest solid-state radar technology to provide images and track functions” of surrounding vessels and objects.
It can also be used by onshore vessel traffic services for ship tracking. “Radar must have high safety standards and be able to detect and track smaller objects,” said Mr Magner.
VisionMaster SeaGuard uses an “X-band fixed-phase wave beam and six different waves on different frequencies, so it is not affected in harsh environments and can detect small objects” he said. It could be enhanced further for different types of targets, such as addition ice.
Mr Magner said the radar would be ideal for cruise ships that “need ice navigation for iceberg expeditions in winter and detection of small vessels for summer cruises”.
Network-based VisionMaster Net enables operators to switch workstation displays from radar to ECDIS and activate radar overlays or switch to surveillance radar mode, using different types of antenna.
Sperry Marine is also trialling a back-of-the-bridge voyage planning system for automatic route exchange and chart updates. “We are looking at remote assistance and remote maintenance of bridge systems for passenger ships to minimise downtime,” said Mr Magner.