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Peter Bergljung, Prepare Ships WP04
Peter Bergljung is Technical Director at Saab TransponderTech, one of the partners in the Prepare Ships project and leads the Prepare Ships Work Package 4; Ship-to-ship and Ship-to-shore Communication. The role of Saab TransponderTech is the responsibility for the communication between vessels and shore through VDES technology. Peter calls it “the next generation of AIS” or “AIS 2.0”.

– VDES will enable new applications as the ones we are developing in the Prepare Ships, a solution that allows accurate E-navigation of ships. Saab has been a leader in the field of AIS for over 20 years and we have decided to be the leader in the field of VDES in the future, says Peter.

Saab was offered to join the project, by RISE, as there was a missing link when it came to exchange information between ships and with shore centers. With their VDES solution Saab was a perfect match and VDES is today used both for the Predictor and the Network RTK. All digital advanced applications for the future IMO E-navigation.

– We are quite convinced that this solution will sit on most ships in 4-6 years, and therefore Saab finds it interesting to take part of a project like Prepare Ships. By participating we will learn and understand what these kinds of applications demand, says Peter.

The purpose of the Work Package
WP04 handles all the communication in the Prepare Ships project, both when it comes to communication between ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore. The main purpose has been to support the other project members to try to minimize the application’s bandwidth requirements.

– We cannot send more information over AIS than we do today. Saab has worked over 10 years on a standard for VDES that allows us to send 32 times as much information as with the AIS. This is denoted VDES LinkID 19. Without VDES we would not have succeeded to do what we had in mind for Prepare Ships, says Peter.

If you are interested to learn more about how the VDES technology works, Peter advice you to read more here: https://www.iala-aism.org/technical/connectivity/vdes-vhf-data-exchange-system/

Why this work is important

If the Predictor system turns out successful, it will change the rules at sea. It will help to increase the situational awareness both for the own ship and the surrounding ships. Collisions can be avoided and in the future the solution it will be of huge assistance when it comes to automated ships. It is important to highlight the safety aspect. Today many people die at sea due to collision and sinking ships. Many of these accidents can indeed be avoided by better situation awareness.

– Today you know very little about the surrounding ships. You do not want to find yourself in a serious situation where the Collision Regulations (COLREG) apply. Today you check your AIS for the worst-case scenario, but with the predictor you will know exactly what is happening around you, says Peter.

A future standard reducing the carbon footprint
Saab TransponderTech hopes that there will be a lot of attention around the Prepare Ships solution which will revolutionize the industry. They also hope that the application will become a future standard for all vessels.

– I hope the sector will be curios about it and accept this solution that improves their daily lives. When it comes to the practical side it is a change of hardware from an AIS unit to a VDES unit that gives the end user a significant security upgrade, says Peter. And of course, new software in the ECDIS, says Peter.

Another important angle to take into consideration is the climate impact. And also here the system shows huge advantages.

– With the Predictor (and the backbone technology) we can reduce the fuel consumption with 25%, just by better navigation and optimal routes of the ships, via STM (Sea Traffic Management). If this will be known, all ships will have this solution within 10 years. Today, more and more ships have been digitized which makes the implementation of this new solution easy, says Peter.

Saab is very satisfied with the outcome so far in Prepare Ships project. It all started out with a clear and good proposal and a small and dedicated group of partners. All this together has made the project run smoothly and gools have been achieved as planned. There is a bit left to the final product, but in terms of research Saab feels that the project has come a long way.

– The Predictor will now be installed on Stena Germanica and the Project are in the final stages of measuring all the parameters with Machine Learning technology from RISE. Full scale tests with all Prepare Ships technology base including the latest VDES upgrades from Saab TransponderTech will be tested during spring 2022 and documented in the final reports of the project, says Peter.