Around 90% of goods traffic to and from the EU member states is transported by sea. Therefore the maritime sector is of significant importance to the economic competitiveness of European business and industry. However, due to its very nature, it is also one of the most dangerous industries.
Due to this danger it has been highlighted that for some time there has been a shortage of skilled and well trained seafarers. Official statistics show that 80% of recent marine accidents, and 96% of casualties, have resulted from human error of some sort.
There is also the need to ensure the European maritime environment is protected from oil spillages in the sea as a consequence of these accidents.
The Costa Concordia disaster suggests that current crews of merchant navy vessels have limited capability to respond to emergency situations, in particular the management of ship evacuation procedures in accordance to the requirements of the SOLAS and STCW agreements. Therefore regulatory bodies will request navel operators to mitigate these deficits and are likely to require shipping operators to develop additional effective training methods.
Obvious methods are computer aided simulations of emergency situations. In addition, for the purpose of protection against litigation, shipping operators will seek to document the emergency response capabilities of their staff. However, none of the competitors in the marine safety training market products, we have reviewed, makes significant use of computer simulations for training and do not offer the opportunity to document the performance of individuals.
TeamSafety is a two-year project funded by the European Commission’s Framework 7 Programme within the ‘Research for SMEs Associations’ scheme.
The TeamSafety consortium is made up of a well balanced team of organisations who have been selected on the basis of their expertise in fields that are complimentary to the projects development.
The European Union has previously attempted to solve maritime problems with technical solutions at ship level leading to changes to ship design, emergency & abandon ship improvements and state of the art fire prevention systems. These have seen an improvement in emergency facilities: however these ultimately deal with the effect of an incident and not the cause.
Most existing maritime training focuses on practical exercises and drills. These can train specific actions, but even larger ship based drills cannot fully and realistically re-create the actual crisis situations.
The TeamSafety project’s approach is to develop an innovative 3D interactive and immersive computer based training system. By the use of state-of-the-art gaming engine technology, coupled with the innovative use of tonal speech recognition and the implementation of enhanced Human Interface Devices (HIDs), all tailored to the maritime industry, TeamSafety aims to provide a training environment superior to anything currently on the market.
By placing mariners in this environment we will significantly improve the training experience for the trainee through:
- Promoting a more accurate situational response by creating a more realistic and immersive training environment
- Being able to work collaboratively with other team members in actual crisis situations. The target being up to 30 trainees at a single location and multiple locations
- Communicate, issue commands internally, between crew members of the emergency response teams onboard and externally, between ship and shore-based assistance stations (like VTS, company offices etc.) and make decisions in actual crisis situations
- Act under realistic conditions of a crisis situation (taking into account movement of a ship according to sea state and enhanced representation of temperature (heat) and humidity)
- Trainer feedback on the full scenario for all participants
Once available, Team Safety based training will result in better trained ship crews through increasing their experience of actual crisis situations, thus improving emergency preparedness and levels of safety consciousness.
Key Objectives Achieved
- Design of the architecture of the scenario progression handler toolset and its functional description.
- Design and develop middleware component to incorporate the SPH into the game engine
- Generate a comprehensive methodology for crisis scenario design and control
- Generate and integrate the generated crisis scenario into the SPH
- Develop software-based algorithms for trial speech recognition (TSR)
- Design and develop parametric middleware to integrate TSR into the game engine
- Develop understanding on human facial expressions and cross reference to TSR
- Design and develop a middleware component to emulate on-screen gesture expressions
- Design and develop the architecture to integrate PC-HIDS into gaming engines
- Design hardware and software into the virtual environment
- Design and develop specific Teamsafety maritime content
- Beta Testing and validation