Contact and collision related casualties account for 40% of yearly insurance claims in the maritime industry. 75% of these are caused by human error, amounting to $1.6bn in losses. The major sources of ship damage are semi- and fully-submerged objects which go undetected by radars, sonars, and optical sensors. The general trend towards any automation of vessels can only be realized with an assurance of simultaneous improvements in safety and reliability.
LiDARs - light detection and ranging - has been developed for topographic mapping for self-driving cars. It can collect thousands of observations per second with millimetre precision, with a very high update rate and resolution. Simulations are done in 4D to measure and monitor distances. The price of LiDAR sensors have fallen by almost 90% in recent years with the global LiDAR market expected to reach $2.1bn by 2024.[4,5]
However, technological advancement and research is still needed to ensure that subsea LiDAR is as effective as its terrestrial counterpart, and is able to overcome the distortion and scattering effects of water.[6,7]
When will it become an accepted practice that vessel navigation is supported by underwater laser scanners?
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