Evolution Aspects in the Marine Simulator Domain

NL 56

Prof. Capt Stephen Cross

The progress in the electronics industry has strongly influenced the development and application of simulators for specific marine related training objectives. More, and different, types of simulators are becoming available to a wider group of users as a basis for the quality training requirement.

A simulator can be described as a device that duplicates limited aspects of the real world. The simulation process recognizes all the classic benefits such as avoidance of costs and dangers associated with operation of actual systems, avoidance of injury and damage and rapid and repeatable learning exercises.

The first and best known category of marine simulators which was developed is that of the shipbridge simulator with some of distinct milestones:

1967 One of the first systems appeared in Sweden at SSPA in Gothenburg for research purposes. Using computer generated imagery (CGI) to produce a mainly nocturnal picture on 7 black and white CRT screens.

1968 Developments in Netherlands at TNO DELFT and at MARIN in Wageningen in resulting in the Shadow graph Point Light Source System whereby cut out models of horizon and landmass objects are placed in front of a light source and back projected onto a circular screen. Moving the models gives an apparent change in azimuth.

1970 The Model board system was a popular other development at this time, whereby a scaled physical model of the exercise area is constructed and a small TV camera is made to track over the surface. The monochrome picture is then putonto a screen by means of a television projection system.

1975 At about the same time slide projection systems were considered an option at some other training and research institutions. VFW-Fokker (MBB) installed such in FachHochschule Bremen in Germany.

1977 A night time visual training simulator made its appearance at the College of Nautical Studies, Southampton, UK. Built by Decca, this nocturnal system produced a series of light points from light point projectors, each controlling the intensity, colour and movement of the lights and then projected onto a screen to give 50 degrees arc to port and starboard.

A first radar and navigation bridge simulator

1977 Similarly around that time the first computerized radar and navigation simulator was launched in Hortenby Kongsberg in Norway. This system has been constantly upgraded and the modular structure allowed the systems to be expanded and enhanced like the world famous building blocks

Shipbridge simulator with steering stand but no outside view

Different solutions have been designed for the bridge simulators to create the effect of a realistic environment for the student workplaces. Usually this has resulted in a simulated ships bridge fitted with equipment and the outside view projected or shown on monitors or screens.

A full mission bridge simulator

Especially the outside view from the bridge offers a spectacular impression which often diverts the attention away from the installed equipment and the sophistication of the mathematical models driving the simulated processes.

High-end bridge simulator with advanced visuals

From then on the development progresses with the improvement of technology and the present day results can be seen at many training locations. (to be continued………………..)

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