The company believes its technology demonstrator will highlight the benefits of simulators for training crews in high-speed boat handling as well as navigation, drills and tactics scenarios.
Cruden CEO Maarten van Donselaar told the Show Daily that while the company was better known in the motorsport and automotive industries, they had started fielding questions from all over the world, on whether they offered simulation for high-speed boating training.
“And sort of coincidentally, we had people in-house who were educated in the field of high-speed boating applications. So, we had the expertise and were aware of the fact that while simulation is widely used in the maritime world for training, it’s usually big merchant ships and the bigger boats,” van Donselaar explained.
“These fast craft that we are simulating today, from a technology point of view, are a lot closer to a Formula One car than they are to a big ferry or a big frigate. From a technical standpoint, if you want to simulate these big boats, they are far away from these fast-small craft – Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs), the small patrol boats, anything with a planing hull.”
Exploiting the company’s experience developing motorsport racing simulators, the hydrodynamicsfocused simulator uses detailed modeling and motion-cueing techniques along with sophisticated image generation to provide training that features realistic motion and dynamic feedback.
“It’s highly dynamic and therefore the timing aspects of what you’re doing become extremely important. So, if you are driving a RIB in a sort of significant sea state, you will see the wave in front of you and as a driver you have to respond to that. It’s very important that everything you see is synchronized with what you feel and that it should be correct in the millisecond area.
“That’s something completely different from a bridge simulator for a ferry or a frigate where if you have to port in three miles so you start slowing down already to take the speed out of the ship.”
The company is also offering the integration of weapons simulation training with the high-speed boat simulator in conjunction with partner Meggitt Training Systems.
Originating from Fokker Aircraft Company, Cruden was formed in 2004 and, as well as serving the automotive, motorsport and marine industries, also produces geo-correct terrain databases, 3D vehicle models, and dynamic models in-house. The company launched its open architecture Panthera software suite in 2015.
After launching the small craft simulator as an internal project, Cruden joined a project between the Marine Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) and the Dutch Ministry of Defense to develop a similar Fast Small Ship Simulator (FSSS).
As well as Cruden and Tree C Technology as key suppliers, the project includes input from the Royal Netherlands Navy, including the Surface Assault Training Group.
Cruden’s involvement in the project reinforced the company’s understanding of the vital role fast small ships play in a nation’s defense, allowing a swift and flexible response to a range of maritime threats. Without the use of simulators, crew training is expensive, time consuming, weather dependent and tough on instructors, who face up to 1,000 hours per year at sea and accelerations of up to 9g.
“And of course, this project has helped us a lot in gaining experience, having access to experienced people who could give feedback on – not only what the simulator feels like, subjective feedback – but also what it should be doing for training applications, what they will be training,” van Donselaar said.
“Because just driving around on the sea becomes, well, kind of useless after 10 minutes – you have got to have a mission to train. For that you need to talk to the experts on what to do, what is a valuable thing to be trained on a simulator.”
The FSSS simulator will help reduce the strain on front-line operational vessels and sharply lower fuel costs, while also opening up the possibility of coordinated training with other marine simulators such as the Ship Handling Simulator System.
Nevertheless, van Donselaar stressed that the system on display at I/ITSEC was not the FSSS, which was still at the prototype stage, and was instead a “100% proven” technology demonstrator built after two years of consulting people with a need for that kind of training.
“We have presented our technology twice at the HSBO, the HighSpeed Boat Operators Forum. We were not there to present the technology commercially. We were there to get feedback from operators first of all – is this technology good enough to be used as a training device, and secondly, if you were out for training, what aspects would you be interested in if we could develop that for a simulator?”
“This is the start of our marketing activities but at the same time we already have had a lot of conversations with high speed boat operators, either navy, coast guard or search and rescue organizations. We have been speaking to people in the US and in Asia – it’s basically all over the world, because people are looking for this kind of application.”