Automated Aids for safe and efficient Vessel Traffic Processes
Background: Leading principle during navigation of vessels is the avoidance of collision and groundings to protect life, goods, and the maritime living space. However, a virtually unchanged number of ships’ accident has been observed during the last decade. Statistical analyses show that more than 50% of ship collisions have navigational causes, whereby 65% of whom has been induced by human factor. Main reasons in this context are insufficient situation monitoring (28%), misleading evaluation of ships’ motion (17%) as well as fatigue and overstressing of nautical staff (13%). The risk on incorrect decisions and therewith the risk on accidents can be reduced by application of automated assistance functions supporting the seafarer in situation monitoring, evaluation, and decision finding. The ongoing need to reduce the accident risk by sufficient safety measures can be concluded from figure 1.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognized at an early stage the increasing demands on safety and efficiency of maritime transport and initiated in the year 2006 the “e-navigation strategy” as international working program for the further enhancement of the maritime traffic system. In the first phase (2009-2014) an implementation plan was elaborated and consolidated to record user needs and to identify appropriate approaches. As result the following 5 key themes has been prioritized for implementation into the maritime traffic system:
(1) Improved, international standardized and user-friendly design of ship bridges;
(2) Methods for standardized and automated reporting;
(3) Improved reliability, resilience, and integrity of ship bridges and navigational information;
(4) Integrative presentation of available information on graphical displays;
(5) and improved communication of VTS services.
Especially for the key themes (1) and (3) the integrity evaluation of navigation-relevant data and their application-orientated preparation play an important role. Both are a necessary prerequisite to enable the implementation of safety-relevant assistance functions as well as standardized and automated reporting functions. In the year 2009 DLR has started first research and development activities within the project “Maritime Traffic Engineering” dealing with the assurance of data and system integrity in the maritime PNT- as well as TSA-system (PNT: position, navigation, and time; TSA: traffic situation assessment). The project A++Set has been conceived as follow-up project.
TOPIC Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT): Development activities within the priority theme PNT are dedicated to the expansion of PNT Unit (Version 2.0) and the complementary enhancement of PNT-relevant services. Based on the concept of PNT Unit, developed in the frame of MTE project and consolidated internationally within the committee work (IALA, IMO), the project A++Set deals with the methodological and functional extension of the PNT Unit. The main focus of developments is laid on new and combined PNT data processing techniques resulting from GNSS developments and modernization (e.g. next generation GPD, GALILEO, Beidou), provision of new terrestrial radio-navigation services (e.g. eLoran, R-Mode), and consideration of complementary sensors as well as specific sensor developments (e.g. hybridization, low cost). Resulting consequences on the system architecture, interfaces and the PNT-relevant data model have to be elaborated and to be consolidated for the intended standardization.
The necessity to modernize the PNT-relevant service portfolio results directly from GNSS-modernization and the evolving user need to compensate the vulnerability of GNSS by additional provision of terrestrial radionavigation systems. In this context approaches are developed and investigated to enable that in the future augmentation services for new GNSS signals as well as potential backup services (e.g. eLoran, R-Mode) can be provided. Special attention is laid on the determination of appropriate performance key identifiers to describe and indicate the capability of applied systems and the quality of provided data. Within this framework it will be analyzed, how PNT-relevant safety information (PSI) could contribute to an increase of accuracy and integrity of onboard PNT data determination.
TOPIC Traffic Situation Assessment (TSA): The comprehensive and unambiguous description of traffic situation in relation to available traffic area is an essential basis in order to detect and minimize collision risks on an early stage. The analysis of AIS and RADAR data will be continued to improve the spatial and temporal error modelling including causal dependencies. Furthermore it will be investigated if and how erroneous AIS and RADAR data could influence decision processes e.g. in relation of the selection of measures for collision avoidance. The MTE project realized initial investigations regarding the feasibility to associate AIS- and RADAR data. Ongoing activities within A++Set are focused on the development of appropriate methods for the automated detection of traffic obstacles based on ARPA data. The subsequent development phase serves the provision and testing of methods by which traffic situation parameter and assigned integrity information can be determined automatically.
Additionally, conceptual investigations are foreseen to clarify, how network-based and cooperative approaches are suitable to improve the completeness and reliability of traffic situation monitoring. In this context the synthetic generation of AIS messages as well as the automatic adjustment of traffic situation pictures between traffic participants will be considered.
TOPIC Operative Data Management (ODM): Aim is to support both main research areas by underlying developments for data acquisition, data processing, and data provision. An essential component in this context is our self-developed real-time framework with its capability to develop and evaluate algorithm and processors under real-time conditions. The increasing complexity of used data sources as well as increased requirements on functionality of PNT and TSA software solutions results into the necessity to enhance the framework (e. g data synchronization, time control, configuration of complex systems, automated quality monitoring) to meet the evolving usage requirements furthermore too. The further extension of the maritime data server is an intrinsic task serving the acquisition and provision of additional test data, the realization of measuring campaigns, the establishment of new communication means, up to optimized data management. Initial developments of a maritime sensor simulation system are aimed to enable in the future that also complex error scenarios can be considered during evaluation of methods and functions.