OSCAR the lookout system that prevents collisions
The OSCAR system instantly alerts the employer of any potential danger and indicates the position of that threat on a chart. The skipper will be able to see and record the images transmitted from the OSCAR cameras.
The use of daytime and thermal cameras combined with artificial intelligence provides a second pair of “eyes” – an additional watchdog – for the skipper both during the day and at night.
OSCAR’s goal is to avoid a collision with any of the many potential threats that a vessel may encounter at sea, whether they are other vessels, unidentified floating objects such as logs, buoys or containers, as well as sleeping marine mammals.
This Vendée Globe will be the most severe test for OSCAR to date. 18 of the 33 IMOCAs competing in this winter’s solo lap of the planet have been fitted with the latest OSCAR system.
This comprises a compact, lightweight, top-mounted box containing forward-facing day and night cameras, connected to the OSCAR processor underneath, and which in turn connects to any type of display.
Ships of yesteryear used to have a “fuck” man (“send the fuck” was to send someone to the lookout post up on the stick called the fuck) capable of gazing at the expanded horizon from the top of the stick.
OSCAR performs a function, capable of gazing at the extended horizon from the top of the mast, electronically day and night continuously.
OSCAR’s innovation consists of using artificial intelligence and, more precisely, artificial vision, the technology that allows a machine to analyze, process and understand images.
OSCAR is contributing to the development of safety at sea. It will certainly not be the perfect or ultimate collision avoidance system, but it is a pioneering technology that will contribute greatly to development. You will also get better with each mile sailed, as as a lookout, the more OSCAR learns and the more experience he gains, the better he works.
A reliable collision warning system is the “holy grail” of maritime safety aids. While OSCAR is being tested and continues to “learn” applications elsewhere such as with all types of pleasure craft venturing offshore, but also for commercial ships and of course the many unmanned vessels that are currently being developed around the world.
Computer vision, which is already used in automobiles, will in the future play a central role in the development of systems to assist maritime navigation such as autopilots.