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An assurance framework for AI-decision support

The SIMAROS project aims to develop tools, methods, rules and regulations to ensure safe autonomous ferry crossing. The initial project work focuses on demonstrating a decision support system for navigation and DNV’s role is to develop an assurance framework enabling its safe implementation.

In the context of the SIMAROS (Safe Implementation of Autonomous and Remotely Operated functions on Ships) project, the main challenge is that systems that are necessary to enable autonomous functionality are much more complex than what has been traditional on ships. It is the opinion of DNV that today’s framework for assuring safety on ships cannot handle this level of complexity, meaning that new tools and processes must be developed to test and assure these systems. 

Much recent industry focus has been on fully unmanned ships. Today, however, the focus is on applying similar principles to manned vessels reducing the scope considerably and bringing these ideas closer to implementation. DNV envisions autonomous function able to operate independently of human intervention but requiring humans onboard to monitor and intervene if necessary. 

“With safety for everyone onboard as our primary responsibility, we consider the SIMAROS 2 project as an excellent opportunity to explore the potential in autonomous technology to supplement our competent crew.”

  • Øyvind Lund,
  • Adm.dir.,
  • Bastø Fosen

Reliable safety assurance 

The developed system has been implemented and demonstrated on the Bastø Fosen ferry Bastø 6. Combining various inputs, including camera, radar and AIS, the ship forms its own situational awareness, presented to navigators on the bridge. The solution automates the AI rationalisation, and response to, radar and camera capabilities for positioning and collision avoidance, including in reduced visibility conditions. 

The aim is to extend the project to enable the development of this capability into independent perception systems, as well as the development of an optimized human-machine interface empowering crew in the loop to make correct and timely interventions. 

Ultimately the project will develop a suitable assurance framework with related tool-set that is able to handle the complexity of such systems, document system safety performance and provide all stakeholders with the necessary trust to enable the system to be put into commercial operation. This is essential to justify confidence in the system. 

The benefits 

DNV believes the project will improve the research partners’ position in a competitive market and will bring wider benefits to the Norwegian maritime industry in its entirety, consolidating its position as the world’s most technologically advanced maritime nation. 

In addition, DNV believes the developed technology and assurance framework will have significant impact on the maritime industry as a whole, acting as a stepping stone towards more comprehensive use of autonomy by providing the basic tools and processes necessary to enable safe implementation. 

The results of this project will also contribute to nurturing and maturing of the regulatory development process needed for wide-scale implementation. 

SIMAROS - Safe Implementation of Autonomous and Remotely Operated functions on Ships

An assurance framework for AI-decision support