Technology in ship’s bridges can lead to accidents
Technological aids designed to prevent accidents at sea sometimes have the opposite effect as a contributory factor in collisions and groundings. In a new dissertation from Linköping University in Sweden it is proposed that cognitive and social aspects should be in focus in the design of conning bridges, rather than technology and components.
Margareta Lützhöft, a cognition scientist with several years of experience as a ship’s officer, traveled with fifteen vessels to study work on the bridge. The findings show that advanced technology represents a barrier to what many ship’s officers feel is their main function. “They feel that they have an electronic filter between themselves and reality,” says Margareta Lützhöft.
When a vessel navigates the open sea or in narrow archipelagoes, information from the vessel and the surroundings is of crucial importance when it comes to function and safety. Today conning bridges are stuffed with technological aids, and the trend is to integrate them more and more. But the result is not always to the advantage of the user. There is a superfluity of information, and it is not always well presented. Advanced automation makes it difficult for mates to understand what is happening in the system and when and how to take over and steer manually.
It is not news that technological complexity causes maritime accidents. A well-known example is the collision between Stockholm and Andrea Doria off the coast of the U.S. in 1956, when both vessels were navigating with the help of radar. But today’s integrated bridge systems add a new dimension to the risk of accidents. A central problem is that ship’s officers find that the technology is more useful when conditions are calm than when they are under stress, which actually is when they should be in greater need of it.
“When time and space are at a premium, the system is not perceived as a help,” says Margareta Lützhöft.
One section of her study treats ferry traffic between Sweden and Finland. Nowhere else in the world is the traffic so intense with such large vessels in such hard-to-navigate waters. This makes navigation very demanding and complex, and often dependent on technological aids. Officers have to maneuver within margins measured in meters and seconds. But technology cannot replace the personal experience of the waters that is passed on from mate to mate, from one generation to the next.
Such detailed knowledge is not stored anywhere outside the minds of seamen.
“Attempts have been made to teach this stuff to computers, but I firmly maintain that it’s impossible,” says Margareta Lützhöft.
Åke Hjelm | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...