Product name: Helm Order Monitor
Helm Order Monitor (patent pending) is the first technological solution to the problem of insufficient monitoring of helm orders between helmsman and pilot or navigator onboard ships.
Did you know that disaster of Costa Concordia happened due to the helmsman applying the helm on the wrong side shortly before the impact?
We are fixing this problem with an electronic device that combines automatic speech recognition and data from the ship’s sensors. This artificial intelligence allows us to continuously monitor whether issued helm orders are clear, confirmed, and most importantly, correctly executed.
Apart from shipboard use, our product is utilized in Nautical simulators to train proper use and execution of helm orders.
Helm Order Monitor is like Lane Departure Warning to use an analogy with road transportation.
Below are the main problems that Helm Order Monitor solves:
- The most apparent problem is that nothing prevents a helmsman from putting the rudder over the wrong way. The helmsman can also misinterpret or otherwise wrongly execute issued helm orders. Therefore, monitoring the execution of the order remains of paramount importance.
- Most automated warnings are not available in hand steering, such as Default RoT deviation warning, Drift limit alarm, Max. rudder alarm and Low-speed alarm.
- Monitoring of helm orders requires a high level of concentration which reduces situational awareness.
STATE OF THE ART
On the open sea, ships mostly sail with autopilot or trackpilot turned on, but to enter/exit the port or pass-through narrow channels, the ship must go to manual steering. The helmsman does the steering while a maritime pilot or navigator issues verbal helm orders.
Automatic helm monitoring is only available when the ship has engaged auto-pilot or trackpilot in either heading, course, or track mode. But when the ship is in the manual mode, also called “hand steering,” monitoring is reduced to Rudder angle indicator, compass, and ROT (rate of turn) indicator.
In other words, if the helmsman applies the wrong helm, there will be no warning. The ship will continue to turn to the wrong side unless caught by the bridge team.
There will also be no warning if the ship deviates from a steady course. The only way to see this is by constantly monitoring the compass heading or the ground reference.
ELNAV is developing a so-called Helm Order Monitor. This is an electronic device intended for use on the navigational bridge of ships, that addresses the problem of insufficient monitoring of helm orders between helmsman and pilot or navigator. The device uses automatic speech recognition, but also monitors, in accordance with maritime regulations and in conjunction with the ship’s sensor data, whether the orders issued are clear, confirmed, and correctly executed.
The main benefits of this device are:
- The helmsman will have to repeat the helm orders clearly, and the device will issue visual and audio warnings if the helm order is being omitted, misinterpreted, or wrongly executed.
- Assistance in monitoring the execution of helm orders when the concentration drops.
- Indicator of the last issued helm order.
- Implementation of automated warnings otherwise not available in hand steering, such as Default RoT deviation, Drift limit alarm, Max. rudder alarm and Low-speed alarm.
- Transcription of recorded data as an analytical tool and performance benchmarking for insurance companies, shipping companies, nautical schools/colleges, and training centers for seafarers.
In a study conducted by Transport Canada, when pilots were asked whether language barriers make it challenging to communicate orders to the helmsman on foreign-registered vessels, some 60% replied that language barriers “sometimes” affect communication with the helmsman. In comparison, 20% reported that it “often” resulted in difficulty communicating.
Helm Order Monitor forces the helmsman to clearly repeat the helm orders, thus reducing the strain on the pilots and other bridge team members. There is no other product in the maritime industry that is compelling to clear communication.
In the same study, pilots stated that the major problem in pilotage anywhere on the international scene is the language barrier. They could not see how the language problem could be solved in the near future. They fear that it will again be a case of the marine industry experiencing accidents before any positive action is taken and regulations implemented.
Thanks to rapid advances in ASR technology, the Helm Order Monitor is now in a unique position to become an example of positive action toward language barrier problem solutions in the maritime industry.
The device would primarily be attractive to insurance companies from the maritime transportation sector, shipping companies that continuously invest in navigation safety systems, and training centers for seafarers.
The practice has shown that insurance companies were the initiators of new technologies implementation on ships (devices Bridge Navigational Watch & Alarm System - (BNWAS) and Voyage Data Recorder (VDR).
There are currently around 53.000 merchant ships, cruise ships, and very large yachts operating globally, while the total number of commercial vessels is about 94.000.
Apart from shipboard use, our product can be utilized in Nautical simulators for training and monitoring the proper use of helm orders.
Company name: ELNAV
Team leader: Hrvoje Mihovilović