Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Augmented Reality Finds a New Home in the Bowels of Merchant Vessels

AR Glasses Provide Information from Anywhere in the World
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY – WORLDWIDE – Yara Marine Technologies, which offers solutions to the shipping industry on many of the evolving problems which it faces, has of late taken to using the advantages offered by augmented reality spectacles.

Company CSO Aleksander Askeland says that the AR glasses are digital tools which enable Yara to provide service and training quickly and effectively. He explained:

”Just the other day we did a yard inspection with workers walking around for us with AR glasses while receiving different instructions. For our customers, AR technology results in increased value of services received. In addition, less need for travelling will cut costs for all parties involved, and decrease the emissions associated with our work. That means a lot to a green tech company like ours.”

The glasses offer interactive access to vessel environments, like a ship’s engine and the take up by Yara was accelerated by the Covid situation. Now the company believes the technology creates a wide range of new business opportunities and has the potential to revolutionise many work processes. Askeland continued:

”We have been experimenting with AR glasses for some time. When the pandemic stopped our service engineers from boarding vessels, we had the alternative ready. With AR technology we have the visual field of the ship’s crew members on our monitors. While talking to the crew we can make markings, draw, and add text to the various engine parts they are looking at.

”This is useful when giving instructions and a very efficient way of training. It allows us to offer the best expertise available to every one of our clients across the globe, at any time, thereby increasing the quality and responsiveness of our services.”

AR glasses are evolving fast with many different providers and functionalities to choose from. While this broadens the scope for how the technology may be employed, testing and development are required in order to identify potential challenges and to continuously optimise usage. Jesper Hellström, Head of Research and Development at Yara Marine Technologies concluded:

"We recently completed a successful test run with our engineers in Shanghai using AR glasses to provide crew training in Japan. They tested a range of different functionalities with great results, such as the ability to draw instructions in the visual field of the crew being trained.

"There were some challenges with internet connectivity in the deepest parts of the vessel, especially in the engine room, which acted as a Faraday cage. However, these issues are now resolved as we continuously innovate and improve the system.”

Photo: A ship’s engineer works on a circuit board using the AR glasses observed by a Yara technician working elsewhere.