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.
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.”
The Ports of Auckland has about 1500 shipping arrivals a year.
The world-first VR app aims to be live by early next year.