SEA unveils augmented reality technology for ships’ officer of the watch

Published 11th September 2017

Cohort company SEA has exploited its use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in training simulation technology to develop a new Situational Awareness (SA) tool for ships’ Officer of the Watch (OOW).

The AR technology, unveiled at DSEI, uses a Microsoft Hololens to present a single fused picture of all the relevant information needed by the OOW as he/she manages the vessel’s course in a crowded seaway, taking data feeds from sources such as radar and a Warship Electronic Chart Display and Information System (WECDIS).

Its value as an aid to Command and Control is enhanced during night time or periods of poor visibility and enables the OOW to maintain heads up awareness from the bridge, while also providing data for points of interest not visible with the naked eye.

The system highlights fixed and dynamic hazards, identifies near horizon and over-the-horizon vessels using the ship Automatic Identification System (AIS) and provides track information, while also proposing a recommended course for avoiding action.

Preferred displayed information is flexible and can be filtered dependent upon the current task. Other benefits of the live augmented display include greater awareness of points of interest and surveillance of friendly forces, better threat anticipation, more effective use of intelligence data and better awareness of effecting arcs. By fusing the relevant data, OOWs can speed up decision making to improve their force effectiveness.

The innovative technology has been developed from SEA’s DECKsim products used by the RN, foreign navies and civil operators for training Flight Deck Officers (FDO). It can also be used for training and is an SA tool that can be applied to both naval and commercial vessels. SEA Business Development Executive Andy McGowan explained:

“AR is a very effective way to manage information workload of the Officer of the Watch, instead of displaying all information. AR is used to display only the necessary real-time information, the make-up of which is fully configurable and can originate from various sources.”

Besides the OOW application, SEA believes that the AR management tool could be used in land applications, in particular by vehicle commanders, who would benefit from AR viewing as opposed to continual reference to battlefield management screens.

SEA will be showcasing the AR technology at DSEI, using a “virtual” out of the window view, emulated display screens and a Hololens.