Wärtsilä Launches Motion-Prediction Technology for Improved Maneavuring

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March 13, 2017

An illustration showing Wärtsilä’s SmartPredict technology. Credit: Wärtsilä

Finnish technology and propulsion company Wärtsilä has launched a new technology that is designed to provide safer and more efficient vessel operations by reducing the risks associated with maneuvering.

The system, known as SmartPredict, 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.

Wärtsilä notes that more 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 sensor(s). 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 manoeuvring,” says Maik Stoevhase, Director, ANC & Integrated Systems, Electrical & Automation, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.

The Wärtsilä user interfaces 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. SmartPredict is also fully compatible with the Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS) overlay function, providing clear indications of potential dangers during ship maneuvering and thus immediately increasing the safety and efficiency of operations.


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