(c) Bakker Sliedrecht

Ships that are anchored ashore cost a lot of money. That is why maritime technical company Bakker Sliedrecht has developed a system in which a mechanic on the mainland can look aboard a ship with the aid of augmented reality glasses (AR glasses).

It is not the only solution the company has recently offered when it comes to providing remote services. Various onboard systems are connected to a computer ashore. This enables technical problems to be solved remotely. Which has proven to be a great advantage, especially during the corona crisis.

“A lot of ship-owners didn’t want outsiders on board. There were also countries that had locked down their borders. Or there were no flight connections available,” says Daan van Loon from Sliedrecht Bakker.

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    Successful test with gas tanker Coral Favia

    The company tested the AR glasses on the Coral Favia gas tanker owned by the Anthony Veder shipping company. An onboard crew member wore the AR glasses and led technical specialists virtually through the ship.

    This means that the cause of a malfunction can be found much quicker than in the usual way. In that case, there will first be frequent mail contact about a malfunction onboard. “We can now watch this live thanks to the glasses,” states Daan van Loon from Bakker Sliedrecht. “That also enables us to solve a problem very quickly. Previously, we had to wait until the mechanic was present. That’s no longer necessary in some cases”.

    Aside from the fact that specialists ashore can directly observe what is happening on board, the system also enables technical diagrams or 3D images to be sent. This means that the crew member can be given instructions on what to do in terms of repairs.

    Remote assistance technology

    According to Van Loon, more and more of these ‘remote assistance’ technologies will be introduced in the near future. For example, onboard systems will now be equipped with internet connections. This allows a problem to be identified ashore even before it actually occurs. The internet connection also offers the possibility to fix software problems and implement updates. Remotely carrying out maintenance and repairs doesn’t just save the shipowner a lot of money. Apart from the fact that the ship can continue to operate, Bakker Sliedrecht’s engineers also need to travel much less frequently. ” Ultimately, this also benefits the environment,” Van Loon adds.

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    About the author

    Author profile picture Arnoud Cornelissen has for many years been writing about science and technology in, among others, various Dutch newspapers.