To guarantee an increased safety at sea navigation, Furuno added two new features to its electronic chart display systems, which are commonly used on small vessels as workboats and RIBs.
The new features are part of an ongoing development carried on by Furuno, which is aimed to improve the identification of dangers and to give efficient warnings.
By now, subtle changes were made in the electronic navigation system through the use of intuitive colour variations: different sections of the display wil be turning from green, safe, to red, unsafe, whenever a plotted route or the current track look set to take the vessel into danger.
The new features are already applied on the Max Sea Time Zero charts displays that are currently used by Furuno: these Time Zero charts can operate on cartography from different sources such as C-Map vector charts and various raster charts with user selection.
Safe route check
The plotted route is no longer shown as a single line, it is instead displayed as wide band: this gives a margin of safety to allow for any deviations that may occur because of winds or currents or even compass errors. The colour of the band, which is normally green, will turn into red while the route is being plotted and followed, as a warning for eventual unsafe conditions on the route such as shallow waters, bridges too low to be passed or danger areas.
The user is allowed to pre-determine the parameters for the warnings such as depth criteria, bridge heights, and width of the band to display the route according to the type of navigation.
An anti-grounding alarm projects a sector ahead of the vessel monitoring the electronic chart for safety hazards. Again, the sector will turn into red whenever it extends over any danger ahead, such as the above mentioned shallow water or rocks. Also in this case, the user can pre-determine the angle of the cone and the distance ahead over which the warning may be given, and various depth and other parameters.
Another feature under development is to be applied to radar display: the radar being able to determine whether targets are approaching or heading away from own vessel or are stationary, such information will also be displayed so that the targets can be readily differentiated. Such a system would be a great help when navigating in crowded waters by allowing the user to prioritise the radar targets that may cause a collision threat and allow the operator to concentrate on these.