BlueNaute revolutionizes navigation on commercial ships
The BlueNaute® inertial navigation system designed by Safran is already fitted to a number of commercial vessels. Featuring hemispherical resonator gyro technology, this new-generation system meets the navigation needs of modern civilian ships.
A GIANT OF THE SEA
Standing on the outsized bridge of his ship, Captain Olivier has an unparalleled view of the bow of the New Generation container carrier.
Loaded with 16,000 TEU containers (20-foot equivalent units), spanning over 600,000 cubic meters, it's one of the biggest ships in the world (396 meters/1,300 ft; with engines developing 108,000 shaft horsepower).
To steer and navigate this giant of the sea, Captain Olivier has a discreet ally: the new-generation BlueNaute inertial navigation system.
A ROBUST SYSTEM WITH VIRTUALLY UNLIMITED LIFESPAN
Designed, developed and built by Safran for navigation duties on civilian vessels, this new-generation system provides a precise heading, even at the most extreme latitudes, and supports dynamic positioning by compensating for the disturbances caused by swells and currents.
The system is based on hemispherical resonator gyros (HRG), a technology that offers a major advantage, namely virtually unlimited service life. And that's why this technology was initially developed for attitude control on satellites.
Looking at the stars, the captain can't help thinking that he's a lucky man to be piloting a ship that benefits from state-of-the-art space technology.
The New Generation will be taking a route that passes close to the North Pole.
This is a first for Captain Olivier, but he has full confidence in his ship, his crew and the latest technologies deployed.
The BlueNaute navigation system will enable him to pass close to the magnetic north without changing any data, and that means he can keep sailing safely in this zone where mechanical gyrocompasses are no longer accurate enough.
Looking at the electronic map, which receives real-time readings from the BlueNaute system, the captain can see how GRH technology is revolutionizing his job.
The BlueNaute system can operate for over 100,000 hours without failure, or about 20 years without a repair or overhaul. It's a veritable model of operational reliability.
The captain isn't very old, but he still likes to say: "I'll have retired well before BlueNaute shows any signs of weakness."
Comfortably seated across from a bank of digital displays, Captain Olivier realizes how much the BlueNaute system makes his job easier and ensures safe sailing.
Just yesterday, for instance, rough seas had awakened fears that his containers were being tossed around a bit too much. But his ship's active stabilization system, also controlled by BlueNaute, had tamed the heavy swells.
Closing his eyes for a few seconds, he also reflected that this would be an excellent solution for land vehicles and aircraft. In fact, he had recently heard about a flight test carried out by Safran of a navigation system prototype for commercial airplanes, based on hemispherical resonator gyros. Test results were very promising, heralding a broad range of future applications.
- © Charles Pertwee / CAPA Pictures / Safran