MOL AR technology VLCCs

MOL to Use Augmented Reality on Board VLCCs

Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd (MOL) will install a navigation system using augmented reality (AR) technology on 21 MOL Group-operated very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs).

The technology has jointly been developed by Furuno Electric Co., Ltd. and MOL Techno-Trade, Ltd.

AIS, Radar and Real-time Video Images

The system displays information on other vessels sailing on a vessel’s planned route and surrounding sea areas and other ocean conditions, such as shallow waters, on tablets and screens. It integrates information from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and radar with real-time video images from the bridge camera in collaboration with Furuno Electric’s Electric Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) FMD3300 series. 

The system provides visual support to crew members during their watch-keeping and ship operations. It alerts crew members to other vessels they need to watch, the location of shallow waters, and so on, by displaying integrated real-time video images with information from nautical instruments on screens on the bridge even in congested sea lanes. 

Demonstration Tests on Car Carrier and VLCC

The system has been installed on MOL’s first next-generation Flexie Series car carrier, Beluga Ace (Note 1), which was delivered in March 2018, and VLCC Suzukasan, delivered in October 2018, for the demonstration test. MOL has continued to refine the AR display screen and to verify the system’s effectiveness. 

VLCC Suzukasan
VLCC Suzukasan

From VLCCs to LNG Carriers and Dry Bulkers

In officially commercialising the system under the Furuno Electric brand, it will be installed on MOL’s VLCC fleet, a vessel type that requires the highest level of operating safety, with the goal of achieving an even greater margin of safety. Due to its deep draft, VLCC operations require special care when navigating on waters such as the Straits of Singapore and Malacca, a heavily trafficked sea lane with limited room. 

MOL will subsequently install the system in its energy transport fleet including LNG carriers, as well as its dry bulkers. MOL expects this technology to play a key role in realising autonomous ships in the future.

Picture (top): Example of AR navigation system screen.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.

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