Dynamic Positioning For Vessels
By Jack Burke13 March 2017
The technology group Wärtsilä launched its latest innovation, SmartPredict, at this year’s Seatrade Cruise Global exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
Developed by the company’s Dynamic Positioning unit, SmartPredict is designed to provide safer and more efficient vessel operations by reducing the risks associated with maneuvering.
The system displays the vessel’s predicted future position and heading, and uses proven dynamic positioning (DP) analysis algorithms to evaluate forces affecting the vessel, thereby providing advanced motion prediction. SmartPredict also features a configurable prediction time display.
The company said most conventional prediction systems are able to utilize only basic input parameters, and thus offer limited usability. Wärtsilä’s SmartPredict software module, however, utilizes all of the parameters used for automated control by the DP and adjusts them for the motion characteristics of the specific vessel. Such inputs include the vessel’s current position and heading, as well as its velocity and rate of turn and all associated accelerations. Also taken into consideration are the manual commands from the coordinated control joystick, and environmental input from the onboard wind sensors. These factors are all continuously evaluated to provide a constant updating of the vessel’s path.
“Allowing the operator to see into the future enables smarter and safer ship handling decisions to be made, thus lowering the risk of accidents occurring. We see SmartPredict as being an important step towards more automated procedures, such as docking, and eventually fully autonomous vessel maneuvering,” said Maik Stoevhase, director, ANC & Integrated Systems, Electrical & Automation, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.
The Wärtsilä user interfaces are designed to provide a simple, intuitive display, allowing the operator to toggle on or off the ‘ghost ship’ indicators for the predicted positions. This display also allows the user to configure the time steps for the predictions. Fully compatible with the Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS) overlay function, SmartPredict provides clear indications of potential dangers during ship maneuvering, thus immediately increasing the safety and efficiency of operations.