Study into augmented reality for safer navigation underway

Google Glass credit Karlis Dambrans.jpg. Caption: Google glass uses augmented reality to overlay information over the top of your surroundings. Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns

Crews’ use of wearable, immersive augmented reality technology (WIAR), such as google glass, to improve navigational safety is being explored by academics at Moeyne College, Syracuse, New York.

It is hoped that using augmented reality glasses to display vital navigation data over the top of the physical bridge environment will free crew up to look out of the window more, therefore improving situational awareness and reducing accidents.

Project lead, Dr Martha Grabowski, told SAS that the research team is currently analysing data from an 18-month simulator evaluation conducted at the Baltimore campus of the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies-Pacific Maritime Institute (MITAGS-PMI). The simulator evaluation was carried out by 192 masters, mates and pilots that carried out simulated inbound and outbound transits using GlassNav – a Google Glass system developed by Dr. Martha Grabowski and researcher Jean-Philippe Rancy of Le Moyne College.

The results of the study will be released later this year and will address concerns over whether the technology can help to improve safety or act as a distraction.

“We are looking at the impact of the augmented reality technology on operator performance, including trackkeeping, situation monitoring, and the practice of good seamanship, as well as on operator communication, decision-making, workload, stress and situational awareness,” Grabowski said.

A shipboard evaluation of the technology will begin later this year.

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