Augmented reality technology (AR), makes it possible to enter digital information into your physical environment using digital glasses. In maritime operations, a user must control advanced equipment at the same time as he or she monitors what is happening outside the ship's bridge. It is likely that AR technology can make such operations safer by reducing the time a user needs to look away from their environment to use digital systems.
AR is developing rapidly, but the technology is still immature in the maritime sector and there is a lack of knowledge about how AR can be safely used by industry. To solve this problem, we will explore how to develop user-friendly, secure and efficient AR support for advanced maritime operations.
OpenAR has established infrastructure to design augmented reality user interfaces on a distributed platform for VR collaboration. The platform is based on results from the OpenVR research project. The platform has been expanded to make it possible to connect 2D design tools directly to display surfaces in a VR representation of maritime operations. We have established a VR twin of a supply ship where we can sketch AR interfaces in many workplaces.
An AR navigation demonstrator has also been established which has been tested on a small boat and which has been prepared for testing on a larger vessel.
Augmented reality (AR) can reduce risk and improve efficiency in advanced maritime operation (AMO) workplaces by superimposing relevant numerical and graphical information on a mariner’s field of view using head-mounted displays (HMD). However, due to the lack of frameworks for adapting AR technology to the maritime context and specific industrial requirements and regulations, the full potential of AR has not yet been realised. OpenAR is a collaboration project that will improve this situation by delivering open source design frameworks for the realization of AR applications in AMO. To achieve this, it is necessary to implement a user-centred, field-driven, iterative and open research strategy with specific, world class industrial and academic partners. OpenAR brings together operators Equinor and Technip FMC (FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS); ship and ship system designers Vard Electro, Blue CTRL and Kongsberg Maritime, regulatory bodies Norwegian Coastal Administration and Norwegian Maritime Authority, and academic AR and operation specialists The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, University of South East Norway and University of Bergen. OpenAR will expand the OpenBridge design system with AR-based user interface (UI) components that are compatible with traditional screen-based UIs. In doing so, OpenAR will benefit from, and build upon OpenBridge´s innovation community composed of more than 250 organisations to accelerate technology exploration, prototype generation and evaluation, and regulatory development. As a result, OpenAR will develop significant knowledge and build research competences to address the following critical challenges: (1) digitalization of the maritime industry, (2) improving safety at sea, (3) generating cost-effective, new opportunities in the ocean industries, (4) supporting the safe and efficient design of autonomous and semi-autonomous systems and their future workplaces.