DNV GL said it has developed a new industry standard for the type approval of Portable Pilot Units (PPUs); the ORCA Pilot G2 unit, created by SevenCs, a navigation equipment and software expert from Hamburg, is the first product worldwide to achieve compliance with the new standard.
“In summer 2015, we developed the Type Approval for PPUs, in order to allow ports, terminal operators and pilot organisations to assure a minimum standard in the selection process of their equipment, against which manufacturers of navigation equipment can test their products. Our dedicated testing programme is based on the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS),” explained Sven Dudszus, Head of Business ＆ Production Management at DNV GL.
A PPU is a mobile computer-based system that a pilot can use as a decision-support tool for navigating in confined waters. It displays a vessel’s position and movement in real-time and provides more information about the location and movement of other vessels using data from AIS (Automatic Identification System
). The latest PPUs can also be utilized to access more information about ice coverage, soundings/depth contours from recent hydro surveys, dynamic water levels and security zones.
SevenCs decided to apply for this challenging certificate because of its long-term experience in developing type approved navigation software. It also helps customers to guarantee quality and safety towards their regulating authorities. But moreover, the uniformity of PPU and on-board navigation equipment
can be fostered to avoid misunderstandings between masters and pilots. “So far, pilot software was not meant to be compliant with any criteria. But what is good for ships in preventing groundings cannot be bad for pilots navigating in the most challenging environments. Following this strategy for years made the approval much easier for us,” states Marius Herzig from SevenCs.
As a result, the new ORCA Pilot G2 passed the test procedures for software and overall PPU. “SevenCs has taken a proactive approach to ensuring their products fulfil the latest standards and requirements. The approval process went very smoothly,” says Falk Bethke, Approval Engineer Electrical Systems & Automation at DNV GL. The new industry standard establishes a set of minimum requirements for PPU quality but allows manufacturers to adjust their PPUs to pilots’ needs.