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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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American Shipper

MOL develops augmented reality system as precursor to autonomous vessels

The technology, which Japanese ocean carrier MOL will develop jointly with Furuno Electric Co., allows information like what other ships are sailing near the vessel and where at-sea landmarks like buoys are to be shown on tablets and other visual displays.

   Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has sealed an agreement with Furuno Electric Co., Ltd. and MOL Techno-Trade, Ltd. to jointly develop a system that supports ship operation during voyages using augmented reality (AR) technology, the Tokyo-based transport company revealed Dec. 26.
   The AR technology is expected to eventually lead to self-steering ships, according to MOL.
   “In this project, information such as other ships sailing around the vessel and landmarks like buoys at sea, can be shown on tablets and other displays, based on data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS),” MOL explained in a statement. “Images of landscapes taken from the bridge can also be shown on the same tablets, and these images will overlap with AR to provide visual support to crewmembers operating ships and keeping watch during voyages.”
   MOL has said that it’s looking at ways to overlap displays of obstacles taken by radar by adding an Obstacle Zone by Target (OZT), which is an algorithm to prevent collisions between vessels, and supplementing displays of obstacles using image recognition technologies to expand such functions.
   The functions, MOL said, are expected to be improved during its upcoming fiscal year, which begins April 1. In addition, MOL said it expects the technology to play a key role in realizing autonomous ships in the future.

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