Improving Maritime Operation Safety by Optimising the Relationship Between Automation Systems and Human Interaction

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


The aim of this doctoral research project will be to produce a method which will allow the seafarers of today to be sufficiently trained and able to cope with the increasing levels of autonomy in shipping. In addition, to equip the seafarers of tomorrow with the situational awareness required to ensure that they do not become heavily reliant on the operating parameters of autonomous systems.
For the project the primary objective is to:
* Investigate and design a solution for changes in seafarer training and revising the operational procedures of the autonomous systems onboard.

To achieve the desired goal, the list of secondary objectives are as follows:
* Recognise and establish areas for improvement, and design, build and test potential solutions for respective autonomous systems.
* assess and analyse current autonomous shipping systems currently installed on vessels, with the intention to find faults and dependencies seafarers may have with the system
* Analyse autonomous systems found onboard current sea going vessels
* By use of literature review, understand complexities and issues associated with current on-board automated systems
* Analyse multiple user interfaces and system design
* Undertake testing phase of the solution by either, simulation or physical system creation
* Interviewing and testing willing seafarers to assess their actions when using autonomous systems

Research Question
With all research and technological advancements pointing towards autonomous systems being introduced to the maritime industry, this then will pose the questions of:
* What impact will the introduction of autonomous shipping systems have on current seafarers and how will seafarers be able to adapt themselves to benefit the maritime industry?
* Additionally, how will the introduction of autonomous shipping systems influence and potentially desensitise the situational awareness of future seafarers, due to their reliance on machines?

Project Summary
For the testing I plan on examining the test subject and their trust in machinery. The test will be conducted under a variety of test conditions and the aim of the experiment will be to provoke the test subject to trusting the machine over their own judgement
The preliminary test will be separated into 4 different conditions where the following variables will be altered to analyse the test subjects response to varying weather and sea conditions:
* Visibility
* Sea State
* Rainfall
* Wind Speed
* Other Ships in Simulation

All of the tests will be carried out at varying time periods throughout the simulated day. This will be conducted in a manner to assess the test subjects response to the machinery fault and to analyse if different weather and daylight hours affect the test subject in anyway.

With the scenarios set, each of the conditions will feature one or multiple failures that will occur at varying time periods, which may or may not have a synchronised alarm sound to alert the test subject and be of different machine faults.
By using one or a multitude of failures, it will then be possible to analyse the test subjects response times and their individual reliance and trust in the machine.

To distract the test subject a questionnaire will be distributed, this questionnaire will take the majority of the experiment time to complete and thus replicate similar bridge watchkeeping work which is to be completed on watch.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509528/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
2281088 Studentship EP/N509528/1 23/09/2019 31/03/2023 Jevon Philip Chan
EP/R51309X/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2281088 Studentship EP/R51309X/1 23/09/2019 31/03/2023 Jevon Philip Chan