Vessel equipment software with remote access - benefit with Serial Port Virtualization

With every passing year, modern vessels are becoming more and more technologically advanced. Today, we can observe remote management and interaction with a wide range of devices designed for navigation, vessel's operational tasks, seabed research, etc. Each member of the vessel's crew receives special training on how to use specialized equipment and ship maintenance software. Mechanization and automation of vessels radically changed the working and living conditions of seamen.

Modern technologies are designed to solve a lot of tasks, including:

  • Survey and exploration works: inspection of underwater structures and communications, search and inspection of sunken objects;
  • Under-ice works: maintenance of the lighting systems, installation of cables and pipelines;
  • Oceanographic research;
  • Oil and gas exploration and development;
  • Geological exploration: topographic, photo and video survey of the seabed, acoustic profiling, mapping of the relief;
  • Ecological monitoring;
  • Military works: patrolling, mine defense, and more.
Vessel management software

Vessel equipment communication challenge

The development of data collection technologies for oil-producing, military, and research vessels is a complex and time-consuming process. A big number of specialized equipment must be installed on vessels in order to provide efficient data collection and analysis. The communication with such equipment is typically done via serial RS232 and RS485 interfaces. To transfer data around the vessel, you may also need to install tons of cables. With that, running cables to all the required locations does not seem efficient, given the cables’ inflexibility, installation cost and time.

Efficient solution to build the vessel network

The solution to this problem can be Serial Port Virtualization Technology that offers advanced functionality of remote access, monitoring, and management of equipment. You won't need to build a huge network of long wires across the vessel to operate the required equipment remotely. The technology allows accessing any remote serial device wirelessly.

COM Port Virtualization Technology

The technology of serial port virtualization can be easily integrated into any vessel software or added to the core of specific shipping equipment. More than that, the solution is compatible with any OS and can redirect any number of serial devices over TCP/IP or UDP networks.

The major benefits of integrating Serial Port Virtualization Technology into vessel tracking software:

  1. Serial Port Technology provides the ability to communicate with COM port devices wirelessly over any distance, which can greatly expand the functionality of vessel maintenance software as well as specialized vessel equipment.
  2. The unique port virtualization functionality will help you both gain a competitive advantage over other vessel software providers and cover new market segments.
  3. The technology supports shipping equipment management software of all kinds and can be customized for any specific requirements.
Serial port redirection technology is used for testing on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for the Association For Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. In spite of the fact that the vehicle is autonomous, there's the need to operate it remotely in order to develop the autonomous software. The tether is a fiber optic cable with transceivers on both the AUV and on the surface. The communication between the operator and the AUV is done via the Internet protocol. Serial Port Virtualization Technology helps teleoperate the AUV over the network using a game controller over the remote desktop application. Without this technology it won't be possible to operate the AUV with any type of HID device. The teleoperation capabilities provided by Eltima’s solution are essential for testing the thruster values that specialists need to get the AUV to go in the directions to test.

Falcon Robotics Team

Serial Port Virtualization Technology provides communication between the commercial software that runs a multibeam sonar, which is aimed at receiving NMEA GPS & compass data over a COM port, and new Labview software designed by the students for controlling the submarine. Both programs need to use the same serial port data at a time, and so Eltima's solution will allow the control software to receive the navigation information and feed it right out to the sonar software for display to the pilot during the race. The benefit of the solution is that the students will be able to focus on the mechanics of the submarine and the fluid dynamics around it to develop their control solution, rather than spend hours developing workarounds to deal with the monopolisation of the COM port by the sonar software.

Bath University Racing Submarine Team

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