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HANSA 11-2018

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Schiffstechnik | Ship

Schiffstechnik | Ship Technology The future ship designer – a human factors expert? How will higher levels of automation and the prospect of autonomous navigation of cargo vessels impact the work of ship designers in the future? Including human factors (HF) principles might become a key skill Increasing automation in ship operations implies fewer personnel on board leading to the eventual introduction of autonomous shipping, at least with regard to transportation vessels. This might be less likely for many service ships (and even less likely for naval vessels) since they are intended to »do (often unpredictable) tasks at sea«, however even naval vessels are being designed to incorporate ever greater levels of automation. Thus there might be seen to be less need for the ship designer to consider Human Factors, however the reality is quite the opposite. Rather the fewer personnel at sea need to have ships designed with more appropriate ergonomics, both in the spaces they live in and those where they work, often in extremis. Secondly, much of what the ship designer has traditionally done is being increasingly automated. Thus CASD packages seem just to require the ship designer to insert their ship model – or even for them to only modify an existing design, rather than design ab initio. So it could be argued the task of the ship designer will be in one sense reduced, while the scope is being expanded by applying their scientific knowledge to »architecting the ship«. If, at least for complex vessels, the personnel (living and working) spaces dominate the design of the internal configuration, then the capability to apply HF principles has to become a key ship design skill. So it is worth considering why HF has been given relatively little prominence in ship design when compared to aircraft or even building design. This can be seen to be both in the highly necessary man-machine ergonomics for aircraft crew and providing short-term (and intense) habitation in high performance aircraft. Also given the expensive and rarely undertaken aerospace design process makes ergonomics a worthwhile investment in comparison to the bespoke and under resourced and often conservative design and assembly process for most ships. A similar contrast occurs with urban architecture, where the flow of large numbers of people may be a design constraint but wider aesthetics are accepted as a major design driver, whereas in most ship design the overriding demand is for economic »efficiency«. Ergonomics, safety and risk There is an overlap of ergonomics with safety and risk, which implies the naval architect who is particularly concerned with ship safety, should take the lead when HF is being addressed in the overall design. So what has the ship designer traditionally needed to know about human factors? A good summary is provided in the 2003 SNAME compendium on ship design and construction in the chapter entitled »Human Factors in Ship Design«. It starts with human factors, human centred design (HCD) and ergonomics, by pointing out that human error is responsible for 80% of maritime accidents, especially operator fatigue, which is now being recognised as a major factor in ship safety. A contrast to the above detailed »engineering« stance regarding HF in ship design, which focuses on the »micro-ergonomics« of console design and high intensity working space design, is provided by a recent UK publication published by the Nautical Institute and entitled »Improving Ship Operational Design«. In taking a more strategic view, this book has many discrete contributors. It also provides extensive references, including web sites. The beginning of this book includes contributions by Andrews, who approaches the HF issue for designers from a naval ship design stance. He draws on his early professional experience of seven months at sea on a range of naval vessels, which his generation of naval constructors were most fortunate to experience. His contributions also respond to HF experts who are often frustrated by the continued lack of adequate ergonomic design, particularly in much of the common passageways and general spaces throughout most ships. This is in part seen to be due to the particular historic nature of both the bespoked character of ships and the construction culture in shipyards. Furthermore the initial cost of any ship is very competitive due to the nature of the contracting process, thus shipyards compromise on HF detail, if they can get away with it. Also the naval architect’s design focus is on avoiding failures in »stability«, »strength« and even »seakeeping«, all of which can sink ships, whereas HF only indirectly threatens a ship, even if poor ergonomics can directly and severely hazard the individual mariner. So the question is whether this needs to be changed by the imperatives of automation in ship operations and design. Many architects have often been seen to be very responsive to their clients and aware of the general needs of »human users« of their buildings, in part because they are less constrained than the ship designer by the extremes of environmental variability and (not at all) by need for mobility. Nevertheless, it has been argued they have not kept up with HF related developments in the built environment. Thus Broadbent is careful to say, in his review of some twenty-one human sciences that »some of the human scienc- 60 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 155. Jahrgang – 2018 – Nr. 11

Schiffstechnik | Ship Technology es can present the designer with useful information«. This would suggest that direct expertise in such a large number of disciplines or even deep ergonomic/HF expertise is also beyond the generalist ship designer. Furthermore, the design community seems unaware as to how automation in design practice is already changing (ship) design and the role of the traditional ship designer. Two UCL projects have directly addressed how ship design practice can respond to this concern. In the first of these UCL was as a ship design partner in FAROS, just one of several large E.U. FP7 research projects considering safety and risk in the maritime domain. This study was a simple illustration that improvements can be made to the working and living environment onboard ships (particularly error making by operators onboard transportation vessels, such as super tankers), however it found there were effects on the other desirable or even driving features of something so integrated and interactive as a ship design. So HF concerns have to be assessed alongside the rest of the design evolution and sensibly trade-off. The second project was a UK research council (EPSRC) project undertaken jointly with the University of Greenwich (UofG). While the UofG’s maritimeEX- ODUS tool was devised to simulate large scale evacuation of passengers and crew from passenger vessels, this project considered a much more diffuse set of conditions where the crew of a UK Type 22 Batch 3 Frigate could be simulated carrying out evolutions moving through the ship, which was itself modelled in the SURFCON module in QinetiQ’s Paramarine ship design toolset. Changing nature of ship design? What can be concluded at this stage, from these two quite different exercises on quite different ship types, is that we have only just started to model, at a research level, selected HF issues on ships. We are some way from a clear set of guidance on what is appropriate and what can be confidently modelled in the HF field appropriate to real ship designs. Given that much of the HF related design issues require exploring the architectural features early in design, then a responsive ship synthesis, such as the UCL Design Building Block (DBB) type approach realised in SURFCON modelling above, it is now seen to be necessary to explore the choices for ship configuration, and hence performance and cost, when addressing high level HF issues. So should the nature of ship design education change to give HF more prominence? Given both the operational and design practice implications of automation, it could be argued that greater knowledge of the fundamentals of much that Broadbent identified for urban design, ought to be expected of those future naval architects who will be primarily focused on ship design. However it is also the case that the core sub-disciplines of naval architecture are themselves also advancing in knowledge and complexity, along with the tools (such as F.E.M. and CFD) as well as demanding risk and safety regimes), making it difficult for the ship designer, »to keep up to date«. Just how reasonable is it to expect the ship designer to be an expert, beyond the naval architectural and ship design fundamentals? These still largely govern the design of most ships and it is questionable as to whether future ship designers can to devote effort to be aware of developments in HF at the expense understanding the cutting edges of, say, propulsor design, limit state structural design or manoeuvring modelling? This »intelligent awareness« is not only an irreducible minimum but also the best guide as to how to deal with new developments however strong their bearing on ship design practice. However the naval architect, as the key ship design discipline cannot become a HF expert anymore than being a deep expert in the many sub disciplines of the traditional naval architect. So the ship designer needs to be aware of the growing importance and knowledge base behind HF to communicate intelligently with HF experts and be able to provide design proposals that better reflect the demand for more HF kindly and safe environments in vessels. So, the ship designer has to tread the narrow line between over design (i.e. meeting everyone’s expectations) and delivering an affordable and safe product on time with an achievable performance through life – it was ever thus. Author: David Andrews, UCL, UK HANSA International Maritime Journal – 155. Jahrgang – 2018 – Nr. 11 61

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