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Maritime Assisted Volumetric Navigation System

Final Report Summary - ARIADNA (Maritime-assisted volumetric navigation system)

Executive summary:

In the current worldwide context, close to 90 % of goods travel to destination by sea, a percentage that will steadily increase even further. This forecast implies a growth in maritime traffic at sea and at inland waterways and, therefore, an increased risk of maritime accidents. Nowadays, human factors account in part from 75 to 96 % of casualties so that there is an obvious need to avoid a surge in the latter due to the rise in traffic.

The waterborne community is aware of the limitations in the capacity of infrastructures such as ports, traffic separations schemes, rivers, channels, and their access areas, which bring restrictions to the overall traffic situation. In this context, the maritime and inland communities are demanding new supporting tools in order to enhance the efficiency in navigation, from the point of view of both: infrastructure optimisation and safety, and needless to say, the increase in traffic will only make matters worse.

Under this context, ARIADNA brings in the opportunity to accomplish the mentioned goals based on the revolutionary so-called volumetric navigation concept, which defines the position of the vessel by means of a geo-referenced virtual volume instead of a single point (latitude and longitude).

The virtual volume combines the volumetric and temporal information of the vessels involved in a specific scenario with the real environmental data, as wind effects and hydrodynamic parameters, in order to manage their relative movements. In this context, ARIADNA proposes a new collaborative navigation approach in which the information is shared and managed among all the actors and elements involved in the specific coverage area thanks to its two subsystems, the user terminal (UT) allocated on board the vessels and the on shore part, the local control station (LCS).

The ARIADNA solution is able to optimise the infrastructures avoiding added risks in the current navigation conditions.

Project context and objectives:

Project context

The overall objective of ARIADNA project is to optimise the use of maritime and inland infrastructures in order to manage the increment of the traffic density and, at the same time, improve safety at congested maritime and inland areas with the support of the use of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technologies and last information and communication technology (ICT) navigation aids.

ARIADNA combines navigation and position information with time of the own and other surrounding ships for a better use of infrastructures. Information on these infrastructures, surfaces, draft allowances, currents, wind, waves, squat effects are included in the ARIADNA context based on the implementation of the volumetric navigation concept. This concept defines the position of the vessel by means of a volume instead of a single point, defined by latitude and longitude typically.

The volumetric navigation concept, applied onto maritime and inland waters traffic, is based on the development of a collaborative navigation tool that implements virtual-safety volume which is geo-referenced instead of a single point and ARIADNA so does. The system associates ARIADNA volumes to vessels and infrastructures sharing and managing volumetric information among all the actors and elements involved in the specific coverage area.

ARIADNA volume is generated by taking into account the real shape of the ship, its size, cargo, speed, drift, course, wind effects and hydrodynamic parameters as well as the surrounding environment.

ARIADNA's system technological approach is divided into two sub-systems:

(a) UT, allocated in the own vessel which functionality is to build ARIADNA's volume with information about the own ship, surrounding ships (traffic) and data received by LCS.
(b) LCS, an onshore system similar to UT, which includes information with renewal information on Port Data Bases and generates volume of fix infrastructures broadcasting all this information in order to enhance the volume generated by UT.

Project objectives

The main objectives of the project were:

(a) to have a clear idea of the state of the art as regard current situation of navigation systems, related projects and programs as well as policies as regards navigation activities;
(b) to define the necessary requirements for the ARIADNA system, both from the functional and technical point view;
(c) to get the system requirements from the final users (customers) needs and to transform those requirements into a feasible system solution (WP3: System development and integration);
(d) to carry out the complete design and development cycle of an ARIADNA prototype with the previously designed architecture comprising each subsystem of ARIADNA system;
(e) to test and validate the ARIADNA system performance by means of a field test in a real-life environment under normal operations conditions (WP5: Implementation);
(f) to assess and facilitate the implementation of ARIADNA results on products and services, assessing economic potential, anticipating possible gaps, and facilitating administrative and customer acceptance;
(g) general dissemination and exploitation of the ARIADNA benefits and results among the user community and the scientific community (establishment and maintenance of a project website).

Project results:

The inland waterway and the maritime field tests, were necessary to demonstrate the performance of the ARIADNA system and provide navigation support to skippers to reduce the risk of collisions.

Since the inland waterway test was the first one, where the overall system was tested, some bugs and minor discrepancies of the hardware and software were detected and internally documented. The results of the inland waterway tests show that in this field of navigation, especially in the vicinity of infrastructural buildings like bridges and locks, the system offers its advantages. Mainly due to the draft information together with the gauge information, accidents like bridge collisions and grounding can be avoided.

The system showed very clearly that potential collisions such as collisions with bridges, port infrastructure, and other vessels can be avoided due to the additional information, which the boat master receives. Well, some parameters where adjusted, such as the risk factor, which was not available during inland waterway test. The captain of the vessel can change the risk factor depending on the situation between low risk, moderate risk, and high risk. Furthermore, the maximum prediction interval of the future position can be set according to the needs of the application.

The location for the maritime test was chosen very well since the port of Algeciras is located in a geo-strategic area of the Gibraltar Street, one of the most frequented navigable waterways in the world.

This demonstration validated the performance of the ARIADNA system in a port environment. The focus lied on providing navigation support to ship officers for port approach, port entrance and the navigation inside the port TSS. The goal was to improve safety of navigation and improve shipping and port infrastructures efficiency (i.e. reducing waiting time at entrance and during manoeuvring). Enhancements in the ARIADNA software resolved the bugs detected during inland waterway test.

However, the ARIADNA system contains of several different hardware and software modules. This document shows very well the performance of the system in the fields of inland waterway and maritime navigation. Analyses of the different contributing modules showed the behaviour of those modules.

The communication module, responsible for handling all incoming and outgoing communications, performed well during all validation exercises during the inland waterway and maritime trial. Minor problems occurred in the maritime trial due to roaming issues in the case of third-generation / general-packet-radio-service (3G / GPRS) connection. As main communication method, a 3G/GPRS connection and an automatic identification system (AIS) link were used.

The AIS encoder / decoder, responsible for en- and decoding all the used AIS messages, was used for all validation exercises. Since the ARIADNA envelope and risk areas have to be interchanged between LCS and UT, an AIS format based on ITU-1371, IALA-126 and IMO Circ289 was used. The decoding at both sides performed fine. In the case of the usage of two UTs, both envelopes were visible all the time. LCS information, especially risk areas, were encapsulated into AIS format and transmitted. The AIS encoder / decoder decoded all the information in all validation exercises.

The radar module from the software side of view was prepared. In both trials, it was not possible to integrate the on-board radar into the ARIADNA system. However, GMV as developer of that module has tested the radar module during laboratory tests.

The AIS targets manager is directly connected to the AIS encoder / decoder. Every time if new data from a vessel arrives, the decoder informs the AIS targets manager, so an updated list of the surrounding AIS targets is available in the ARIADNA system. For all validation exercises, this module worked properly. Vessels in the vicinity of the UTs, equipped with AIS, were detected. The detected vessels were visualised, together with all their information send through AIS.

The 'manoeuvring inside port' module, also denoted as 'Berthing' module, was not used in the inland waterway trials. However, it was applied for the maritime trials. A validation exercise, the E24, was designed for the validation of this module. It was checked while the Algeciras Port was approached with UT1. The UT operator requested a berthing track from the LCS. After the LCS received the request, empty berthing points was assigned and send back t the UT. This information was included into the route information of the UT. ARIADNAs ability to support the skipper with secure and adequate berthing information is one of the major advantages of the system. The LCS can handle more UTs at the same time, which enhance the timing and scheduling of vessels in harbour areas.

A very important module is the graphic representation. It is responsible to fuse the ARIADNA produced information (envelopes, risk areas, etc.) with existing ENCs. A separate layer was developed for that issue. Furthermore, the module is responsible to display the current berthing points, the AIS targets, and the infrastructures of the port or channel, the nautical charts ant its parameters and the water level changed related to nautical charts. For all tests, the module was checked and valuated as working properly.

The environmental influences such as currents, wind, and the sea state are important parameters for envelope calculation. For the inland waterway trials, the sea state was not used, only in the maritime trial. Furthermore, the wind module is only working if the vessel is equipped with a wind sensor. This was in both measurement campaigns not the case with UT2. However, the wind data received from UT1 was well applied to envelope calculation. The calculation of the own waves produced by the vessel worked fine for the conducted exercises. This module has to be adapted to the corresponding dimensions and flow behaviour of the vessel. Performance and results of the wave module was for all tests as expected.

Calculation of possible collision risks with different objects (infrastructure, bridges, locks, restricted areas, safety envelopes of other vessels) is the task of the proximity estimator. A permanent comparison of all objects in the vicinity of the UT has to be performed, and possible collisions have to be announced by the proximity estimator. Furthermore, it manages the warnings for the vessel. All warnings that occurred are stored in the store module. This is important to have a data recovery in cases of accidents. The warnings of the proximity estimator are stated graphically and acoustically. During the validation exercises where two UTs and risk areas were used, this software module performed excellent and did not miss any possible collision warning.

Responsible for introduce new water levels of rivers, channels, or ports and provide them to the UTs is the bathymetry module. The bathymetry module uses depth, extracted form ENCs, and water level information from AIS. Especially for the visualisation of the 3rd component of the envelope, the bathymetry module is essential. That was shown during the inland waterway trial in Linz. It achieved adequate results for this trial.

A key enabler of the ARIADNA system is the position of the vessel. This position is derived by the means of GNSS. The term GNSS is used, because not only the global positioning system (GPS) is used for the position determination, although EGNOS as augmentation service contributes to positioning by the means of quality enhancement. Important information that is not available at the majority of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) GPS receivers is the integrity of the position solution. ARIADNA provides beside the accuracy also the integrity of the GNSS position. This module was analysed very detailed in the previous sections. The result is that GNSS as position giving source performs well. The future position as valuable parameter was computed together with the position and integrity, using a dynamic model for short time prediction. The results in section 6 show that this quantity can be estimated very well, assuming a constant dynamic behaviour of the vessel.

The manoeuvring module is one of the components of envelope calculator, providing the shift in longitudinal, transverse directions and heading. It checked that the speed is an important input in order to know the effect of this module. During locking manoeuvre sequence, the effect of manoeuvring module effect was very low due to low speed. However, during cross path sequence, the transverse shift, and heading shift was in the expected direction. This module provides an important component in order to know the behaviour of the intention of movement of the vessel.

The store module, available for storing all necessary output parameters of different software modules into a database, was used during both trials. It worked as expected, the information is available for post-analysis.

The main task of the sensor module is the handling of incoming data from ARIADNA sensors such as the wind sensor, the heading device providing the heading and rate of turn, and the GNSS integrity receiver. Different connection types (serial, Ethernet, USB) were handled by this module and performed well during validation trials.

Potential Impact:

The ARIADNA objective of increasing the efficiency of the navigation infrastructures has its input on facilitating traffic flow and traffic density without the need of enlarge or build new infrastructures.

The importance of the port infrastructures has been evidenced recently by the publication of the World Economic Forum Competitiveness indexes where the 'quality of port infrastructure' is considered one of the 12 economy pillars.

The global competitiveness index (GCI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The 2012-13 WEF ranking appeared last September. Switzerland is on top, moving ahead of Singapore. The WEF ranking consists of over 100 ranked items, classified in 12 pillars. For each pillar, some rankings are survey based, while others are based on actual data. Through the provision of cost-efficient, reliable and frequent connections to overseas and inland markets seaports play an essential role in facilitating trade and in increasing the competitiveness of a nation or region. It is no surprise that pillar 2 of the GCI dealing with infrastructure includes a component on the 'quality of port infrastructure'.

Additionally, ARIADNA facilitating the navigation flow in high density areas contribute to the efficiency of shipping. Indirectly the efficiency of shipping involves the reduction of fuel consumption and the carbon footprint of the inland and maritime transport, and the emissions of noxious and global warming gases (GWG).

Additionally safe navigation reducing the number of groundings and collisions most of them accompanied by oil spills and sometimes by ship and cargo loss, reduces the impact of transport on the marine environment.

Benefits for the society and the maritime world are related in general to human life, assets (ships and cargo) and the environment; it is no needed to mention almost all maritime accidents are accompanied by spills.

Looking at the Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Shipping Review 2013, shipping losses (ships over 100GRT only, not including fishing and recreational) have been 106 the year before 25 November 2012, with and increase 15 over the same period of the previous year. East Mediterranean is identified as the area with more frequent occurrences.

The causes of losses from the same report on the period 2001 - 2012 are lead 'foundered' with 669 separated with 'wrecked / aground' 294 more. The group of collision (162) and allision (20) totals less than one fifth of the grounding related accidents. Reduce grounding risk implies that the under keel clearance, the vertical dimension of the ARIADNA volume is also of prime importance as grounding may be also cause of wreckage with loss of life, loss of the ship, and oil spill together. Of those risks is difficult to value (insurance companies do) and usually involve human error, so the cost-benefit of ARIADNA on contributing to avoid maritime accidents is even more relevant.

ARIADNA has been designed and developed as a general purpose navigation support system without addressing specific potential end users and needs, scenarios or infrastructures. ARIADNA started from addressing general targets of infrastructure efficiency and safe navigation, at inland and maritime scenarios. The main targets have been:

(a) supporting safe speed optimisation and closer distances on narrow navigation channels and approaches under controlled risk;
(b) providing to the ship complete information for manoeuvre efficiently and safely on restricted waters;
(c) providing a decision support system for a two ships combined collision escape manoeuvre;
(d) providing port control to ship information on the best time slots for direct entry on port, or on lock.

Exploitation of results

ARIADNA has a number of aid-to-navigation (AToN) applications in the maritime environment and water inland environments including optimisation of maritime and inland waterways infrastructures, collision avoidance, vessel traffic services (VTS), maritime safety, AToN and accident avoidance and investigation. The strengths of this system are based upon AIS communications (ARIADNA basis) robustness and the system provided additional functions to the capacities provided by other navigation instruments. This robustness yields to a higher safety level in navigation. The wide range of different operational scenarios allowed by ARIADNA, the ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship possible communications and the radar and other AtoN complementarity the system is able to provide are main ARIADNA strengths.

The outcomes of the ARIADNA project are very valuable for all the partners into their daily work in their activity fields and several opportunities arise related to the possibility of developing future capacities in order to promote volumetric navigation system and new navigation applications with high level safety requirements.

As part of dissemination activities, a website was designed by TCA and Isdefe which link is indicated below. The website was managed for general dissemination purposes and it was used as internal communication tool within the consortium.

List of websites:
The web page provides a short overview about the objectives and the achievements of the project to interested parties, such as user groups, experts, scientists, potential users, and research and development (R&D) projects.

The reader gets an overview about ARIADNA in a compact modality. A project plan provides information about the different work packages and the milestones. In a separate section, the project partners are presented shortly. Also the role of the different partners in the project is published. Furthermore, it is possible to download different conference papers, presentations and videos as well as ARIADNA contributions in different journals in a download area. This ensures technology transfer.

A main achievement of the web presentation has been to keep the web page up to date. It has been a continuous process, so that new information about ARIADNA has been available as soon as possible.

The major sections of the internet presentation are:
- overview and objectives,
- concept and approach,
- project team,
- events,
- links,
- contact,
- internal.

Contact details: Goals of the project were addressed for a European competitive consortium, led by Isdefe, whose expertise and wide experience in different ARIADNA activities guaranteed the success of the project.