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World-first VR app for Auckland

LWA Solutions, a Christchurch-based app design company, is launching a world-first virtual reality (VR) pilot training app in conjunction with the Ports of Auckland.

John Barker trying out the reality pilot training VR headset.

Maritime pilots guide ships safely into harbours all around the world. Their job requires them to get on and off moving cargo ships via rope ladder, a situation that can be both demanding and risky.

The LWA app uses VR to safely simulate the above situation.

Atta Elayyan, LWA chief executive, showcased the virtual reality training solution at the recent New Zealand Maritime Pilot Association’s 30th anniversary annual conference in Christchurch and it received overwhelmingly positive feedback from pilots and trainers.

“It’s a highly cost-effective training method, safely simulating highly variable conditions making it superior to current training methods,” Elayyan says.

“We believe virtual reality training will become an industry standard in the very near future. It provides a risk-free way to prepare trainee pilots for the tasks they will need to undertake during their job and can also efficiently vet out those who may not be cut out for the role.”

“We understand there are no solutions like this anywhere in the world using virtual reality headsets. Our simulation is targeting the ‘embarkation training’, which is the physical process of safely maneuvering outside the pilot boat and climbing a nine metre ladder to board the ship, while both the pilot boat and ship are under way.”

“Some ports overseas use ship bridge simulators, which are very costly to set up or hire. We are using a highly cost-effective virtual reality training system which requires minimal physical space and is portable. We can see this disrupting bridge simulation in future.”

John Barker left, with LWA CEO, Atta Elayyan

Ports of Auckland Senior Pilot John Barker says they are always looking for ways to do more with less.LWA’s most recent venture was another app for the Ports of Auckland that increased efficiency and reduced human error by consolidating multiple processes into a single app highlighting ship schedules, tidal calculations and manoeuvre drawings.

The Ports of Auckland has about 1500 shipping arrivals a year.

The world-first VR app aims to be live by early next year.

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ANCAP releases its own safety app

ANCAP will officially launch a new app tomorrow that will provide users with an up to date, in hand tool that can be easily used to compare vehicles safety information.

While the official launch is tomorrow, the app is free and available to download now on iOS and Android.

A screenshot of the app comparing three different models.

The app has been developed to provide a new mechanism for consumers to access ANCAP safety rating information in the lead-up to a vehicle purchase, as well as provide additional safety-related content and features to see the safer vehicles conversation continue post-purchase.

Users will be able to select from a wide range of the most commonly available models, and compare up to three different cars at once.

The app has been developed in collaboration with the NZTA, AA New Zealand and a number of Australian road safety and automotive agencies.

“The road toll is increasing so we must work harder and do more to see this reversed. The ‘ANCAP Safety’ app will assist consumers make safer vehicle choices in an effort to reduce road trauma,” the agency said in a statement today.

ANCAP is Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate and provides consumers with advice and information on the vehicle safety.

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New charger app

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers can now find public charging stations on Vector’s updated EV charging app.

Vector chief executive Simon Mackenzie says there are currently 126 charging locations on the app – across the country from Kawakawa to Invercargill.

“Our Auckland-based app has really taken off since its launch in September. As more EV chargers pop up around the country there’s a real appetite to get all their details in one accessible place. So we’ve invited other EV charging operators on-board to make it happen,” says Mackenzie.

“New Zealand’s network of EV chargers is growing but is still sparse in many parts, especially when compared with petrol stations. This will give drivers peace of mind on long journeys, allowing them to plan essential charging stops.

The app currently shows the live status of Vector’s rapid chargers and the company is working with others to include the live status of their rapid chargers, including those on the ChargeNet NZ network. ChargeNet NZ currently have thirty 50 kW rapid chargers nationwide.

“We have always adopted a collaborative approach, ever since our installation of the first fast charger in New Zealand 18 months ago” says Steve West CEO of ChargeNet NZ “We are pleased to support Vector in this initiative and look forward to working with them more closely in 2017”.

The updated App can be downloaded from Apple Store and Google Play.

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