?Superman? Sensors Aim to Transform Safety at Sea

Published Apr 21, 2018 8:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norwegian start-up technology firm ScanReach has released In:Range, a unique system capable of locating anyone on a vessel or offshore installation in real time. 

The plug and play technology is deceptively simple, easy to install, low cost and, according to the team behind it, could save countless lives at sea. The firm has created a system and technology capable of sending and receiving data signals wirelessly through any structure, including steel. Using a combination of advanced radio technology and intelligent software algorithms and protocols, signals sent from bracelets worn by crewmembers are picked up by sensors that simply plug into standard power points. This data is then transmitted to screens on the bridge or, during incidents, to emergency services, land-based facilities or nearby ships.

The result is a real-time overview of the exact location of all personnel, negating the need for lengthy and often dangerous searches and ensuring that those that need assistance receive it as quickly as possible.

“InReach is Superman,” says Arild Sæle, CCO of ScanReach. “Plug it in and suddenly you can see through walls to know exactly where your crew are located and how to get to them quickly if they need help. From saving individuals to conducting entire vessel evacuations in a fraction of the usual time, this technology can fundamentally transform safety standards at sea. What’s more its applications are almost limitless.”

Jon Roger Nesje, CEO,  says that he expects the offshore, energy and merchant shipping sectors to be the first to take up the technology but that other sector markets and uses will develop rapidly. “Cruise for example,” he says. “If passengers were issued with In:Range technology upon boarding then the crew would always be able to find and assist them when required. The system can also be used as a simple, reliable and incredibly powerful platform for wireless data exchange. Equipment that gathers data, such as smart ropes or condition monitoring systems, can use In:Range to transmit data straight to the bridge, giving officers real-time insights and leading to safer, more effective and efficient operations. This can be used as the cornerstone of smart ships – it can empower the shipping industry of tomorrow.”

The system has been tested on a number of vessels, including North Sea Shipping’s North Sea Giant, before its official launch at the end of 2018.

To ensure privacy for those wearing the transmitters, the system’s default setting is “sleep,” springing to life in a range of situations, such as when alarms are sounded, the wearer presses a button, or movements are made that show distress.

The firm was established in 2015 and is a backed by a stable group of investors, including Momentum Partners.