e-SEA® Bridge - Developing a bridge solution for the future

3 minutes
February 22, 2023
- If we are to develop a product that actually makes a difference, we have to involve the end user in the process. Otherwise, we lose precious insight and perspectives that may have a big effect on the experience and safety on board.

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This is what senior engineer at SEAM AS, Eilif Kristian Aursland, tells us about the unique development of the bridge solution e-SEA® Bridge. SEAM was the first to launch a bridge solution based on OpenBridge; a designsystem where the goal is to standardize the user interface for bridge systems on ships.

- Conventional bridge solutions often require extensive training and can steal precious time and focus from the navigator. Many bridge solutions are often the result of everything that is required of equipment, often provided by several suppliers, and is placed and organized in a non-optimal way. This leads to a messy workplace that can result in human errors and inefficient operations, says Otto Koch, COO at SEAM.

What was originally a system developed on behalf of the Norwegian shipping company Norled, is now a well-developed series of products and systems that allow easy integration of third-party equipment, but which provide the same functionality and user interface for everyone.

- e-SEA® Bridge is a bridge solution that integrates what the captain needs to remotely control and monitor while sailing, in easily accessible control units connected to the captain's seat. It is a standardized solution that was initially used on Norled's newbuilds, to provide increased safety and efficiency for operating the ferries, as crews would recognize each bridge regardless of which vessel they were to operate, explains Koch.

The e-SEA® Bridge console is designed for optimal ergonomics and easy control for the navigator

SEAM’s IAS System (Integrated Automation System), e-SEAMatic®, which is a big part of the e-SEA® Bridge solution and their power management system, is scalable in terms of both breadth of system control and monitoring and in depth of complexity. The system is also designed to be modular in terms of system functionality. This means that the system is geared towards economic upgradeability and flexible customization, achieved via an open architecture, allowing the user to access all or parts of the architecture without any proprietary constraints.

Maintaining a user-oriented perspective

In the development process of e-SEA® Bridge, which was carried out in collaboration with Halogen AS, both 3D and VR were used to test out the various solutions - each time with several navigators from Norled.

- We have used cardboard, 3D models and later transferred to VR to test the various prototypes. There have been a few iterations, and more will come, but the navigators have been involved from start to finish, says Aursland.

Something as elementary as turning lights on and off, which has traditionally been a time-consuming manual task, has now been automated. When sailing in and out from the quay, necessary functions are initiated automatically, using the GPS position of the ferry.

All equipment, regardless of the supplier, if it has an interface for remote control, is integrated into the e-SEA® Bridge Remote System. The required equipment that does not allow for remote control is positioned close by for traditional manual operation. Interfaces for remote control of equipment allow for greater integration between systems and provide opportunities to automate tasks, Aursland explains.

- A majority of the necessary and mandatory bridge systems and equipment can be integrated in e-SEA® Bridge. This is a good example of the direction we are heading in the maritime industry. Autonomy is only becoming more important in ship development, both for increased efficiency and safety. We believe the industry will experience an increase in automation and autonomous operations and the systems onboard will be more and more integrated. Support systems will contribute to more sophisticated and more comprehensive operations.

The e-SEA® Bridge offers a more automated and safer working space for the vessel navigator

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