Will Augmented Reality Transform Shipping?


  • Augmented reality is a next generation interactive technology
  • Project real time objects in space
  • Shipping and heavy machinery maintenance has greater potential for its application

The dawn of interactive technology is on its verge to facilitate the function of the shipping industry. Augmented reality (AR), is believed to be a potential enabler in the operation of shipping industry through its elegant interaction with humans. Microsoft Hololens is exploring the potential for its practical application in the shipping industry.

What is Augmented reality?

As the name suggests, AR is a new generation of interactive medium that merges the positive aspects of Virtual Reality (VR) with real environment. It allows the computer generated images to be overlayed on the real visual images. This technology has a greater potential to help various industries improve their customer experiences and also perform effective maintenance on their assets.

Major technology companies such as Apple and Google are developing promising solutions to make AR experience more authentic to its users. Active participation of investors in AR is expected to grow in the next three years, according to a report by PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ survey.

AR in shipping industry

For AR to be advantageous in the shipping industry, it needs to serve as a solution for the industry’s prolonged problem, i.e. maintenance of ship’s assets. Engineers are the primary beneficiaries of this new technology as it enables them to be more productive in their work environment.

The troubleshooting at mechanical work sites can now be made more interactive by the absolute use of VR environment. Workers at maintenance location can directly view 3D generated images of components and instantly refer the procedures for fault correction.

Moreover, engineers can upload and download maintenance related datas to a cloud network that provides 24×7 support which reduces the downtime. Also, AR allows shipping business managers to effectively monitor and schedule maintenance at remote work sites by accessing real time data about the ongoing maintenance tasks.

In particular shipping inspection will be more easier as the inspectors no longer needs a physical inspection documents to carry out their tasks at the work site. Using AR, they can see the photos or 3D projections of the machines during the repair, overhaul or new installation.

Where is AR heading?

The application of AR is more essential in the fields of operation and fleet management were real time maintenance scheduling of events are crucial.

To accompany ongoing pursuit on AR technology, Microsoft HoloLens has introduced HoloLens device. It is a holographic computer that projects and interact with users using a hologram.

This device is at its inception stage, and might lead the race in AR devices market. Also, the sales of these AR devices is expected to raise in the successive years according to a research from analyst firm CCS Insight.

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Source: Ship Technology


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