NAVDEC on board Polferries!

The NAVDEC performs information functions on one screen. Fig.: SUP4NAV
The NAVDEC performs information functions on one screen.

Polferries and Sup4Nav agreed the terms of the contract for the supply of a NAVDEC system. Under the agreement Sup4Nav equips all ferries of the Polish ferry operator with Navigation System Decision Support in collision situations.

The NAVDEC system was installed during the spring time as a trial version on the largest ferry, which belongs to Polferries, m/f Mazovia. The System received very positive feedback from the captains and officers, which was, in addition to increasing the safety level of passengers and reducing fuel consumption, one of the arguments deciding to finalize the agreement.

The navigational decision support system NAVDEC is the first navigational tool worldwide that performs information functions as well as those typical of decision support systems. Its innovative functionalities, significantly extending the performance of devices generally carried by ships, have now a status of patent applications filed at home and internationally.

The NAVDEC's team. The company is deaded by (from the left): Professor Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, Piotr Borkowski PhD and Piotr Wołejsza PhD.
The SUP4NAV’s team. The company is headed by (from the left): Professor Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, Piotr Borkowski PhD and Piotr Wołejsza PhD.

The NAVDEC complements the navigational equipment of the ship. It is a real time system handled by the navigator. The system observes its ship and the environment and records information on the present navigational situation. On this basis the system identifies and assesses the navigational situation (processing) and works out solutions (decisions) assuring safe navigation.

For the system to function correctly it has to co-operate with standard equipment and systems installed on board such as: log, gyrocompas, ARPA (Automatic Radar Plotting Aids), GNSS (Global Navigational Satellite System), AIS (Automatic Identification System), ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart), sources of current navigational data.

Similarly to the ECDIS system (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) the NAVDEC performs information functions – on one screen it presents bathymetric data from an electronic chart, an image of surface situation from a tracking radar, positional information from the AIS and GNSS receivers. Finally, it determines and presents to the navigator movement parameters of targets in vicinity.

Solutions proposed by the system, together with their justifications, do not relieve the navigator from responsibility, but make his/her decision much easier to make. However, it is possible to make the ship control automatic by direct connection of the NAVDEC with the autopilot, steering gear, main engine, engine telegraph and controllable pitch propeller.

The innovation that the NAVDEC introduces is that, apart from typical functions of information systems such as ECDIS or ARPA, this system features the following functions:

  • fusion and integration of navigational data received from shipboard devices,
  • analysis and assessment of a navigational situation taking into consideration the Collision Regulations in force,
  • automatic determination of solutions to collision situations by using dedicated computational algorithms, including optimization algorithms,
  • explanation of the present navigational situation making use of a navigational knowledge base (collision regulations, principles of good sea practice, criteria of navigational situation analysis and assessment actually used by expert navigators),
  • justification of the recommended manoeuvre.

The NAVDEC is the first system in the world to offer support in navigation-related decision making on the ship to such a wide extent. It goes in line with the concept of e-navigation that is being developed on the IMO forum.

The Company SUP4NAV has been established by a group of scientists from the Maritime  University  of  Szczecin, creators of the NAVDEC. The company is launching the technology with assistance  from the investor Polish Entrepreneurs Foundation.

GL, rel (SUP4NAV)