The three-year, EU-funded project CASCADe has been completed in December 2015. Its main focus was to improve communication and cooperation within a ship bridge team by optimising the bridge design and by developing new ways in which information is shared and displayed. The project involved seven partners from five European countries.
Drawing directly from the experience of sea farers, CASCADe has developed a new adaptive bridge design methodology that treats both human actors and electronic equipment as parts of a cooperative system. This allows for an optimisation of the way information is shared.
In addition, CASCADe has developed a set of adaptive bridge displays. A touch screen ‘Shared Display’ is intended to aid communication and co-operation on the bridge. This tool is fully customisable and allows one screen to show multiple sources of information in whatever configuration is best for a particular situation. The Shared Display provides functionality to graphically annotate maps, leave notes for other crew members or electronically fill in checklists.
Moreover, the CASCADe console was integrated with tools used by pilots in their Portable Pilot Units (PPUs). Firstly, CASCADe developed a protocol to share pilotage routes between the PPU and the ship’s electronic charts. Secondly, a link was established between the PPU and the bridge screens to allow mirroring of information from the PPU screen and thus allow crew members to see extra information normally only available to the pilot.
All of these CASCADe tools were tested on both a physical simulator (a ship simulator used for training) and a virtual simulator (a software-based simulation of a ship bridge). The virtual simulation platform makes it possible to test new bridge designs at the very earliest stages of development, based purely on computational models. By simulating human-machine interaction, it is possible to analyse information flow and optimise the information exchange between seafarers and bridge equipment.
Through innovative research techniques such as modelling and simulation, listening to the experience of seafarers, cross-discipline collaboration and forward thinking ideas, CASCADe has produced new concepts in bridge console design. By improving communication and co-operation and providing adaptive features on the bridge, CASCADe has contributed towards the prevention of accidents and the improvement of efficiency on board – impacts that will be felt by both individual seafarers and the maritime world as a whole.
For further information on the project and to watch the film about the project, please visit http://www.cascadeproject.eu/