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Simulation-based testing solution

Vessels are becoming more and more automated and there is a need to increase focus on software, on interactions between the operator and control systems, and on security. The SEAOPS approach allows for quick and reliable testing using simulation technology to verify the increased safety and efficiency of ship operations.

The complexity of integrated systems and software is giving rise to new operating challenges – namely, the need to ensure that sophisticated control systems work properly before being taken into use in real operations. This brings about a need for thorough simulation-based testing to ensure well-functioning systems. The systems’ increasing automation and complexity mean that testing should be fast and reliable, with increased focus on the software. 

SEAOPS (Safe Energy-efficient Autonomous Operation of Ships), a project supported by the Research Council of Norway, was established by Brunvoll, in cooperation with DNV, SINTEF, NTNU and Holmeset. It aims to develop and demonstrate safe and energy optimal line-vessel navigation to ensure efficient operation and less loss of catch during fishing. 

“The Safe Energy-efficient Autonomous Operation of Ships (SEAOPS) project aims to integrate propulsion and navigation systems. The development work is based on extensive testing using advanced simulation tools and measurements on board the pilot vessel, the long liner Geir”

  • Knut Andresen ,
  • EVP Engineering & Product Development ,
  • Brunvoll

Integrating propulsion and navigation systems 

The SEAOPS project aims to integrate the propulsion and navigation systems in order to reduce the vessel operator’s workload. Simulation tools are used in order to ensure that this works as intended. 

Currently, MS Geir is navigated by a captain, either manually or using an autopilot. The autopilot controls the vessel’s course, while the vessel’s speed is controlled by the thrust pitch and rpm levers. 

The SEAOPS project will mainly focus on the initial line-setting phase of line-fishing. The control system will optimize the vessel’s course and speed for the long line, and simultaneously minimize fuel consumption as well as wear and tear on the ship’s machinery. The smart selection of propulsion combinator curves during operation will aid in minimizing fuel consumption. 

The SEAOPS project entails using DNV’s Open Simulation Platform to test the control systems and involves using different initial scenarios and at the same time a smart scenario generation tool for more precise testing. 

The benefits 

In terms of this pilot project, the vessel owner is able to test more in a shorter period of time, and to test in a targeted way to find possible errors and improvement areas when using simulation-based testing. 

With many vendors using simulators to develop their control systems, DNV believes the project will improve the handling of complex systems with higher degrees of automation or autonomy – and in doing so, better support customers in the maritime and offshore industries.