SmartKai Assistance system to prevent damage to ships and port infrastructure


When entering or leaving a port, when mooring or leaving it, or when locks are used, ships have to manoeuvre in areas that are difficult to see or hydrodynamically difficult to assess. Even pilots who know their way around have to adapt to constantly and sometimes rapidly changing environmental conditions and make the right navigational decisions. In tidal ports in particular, the respective water depth must be taken into account, as ports can only be reached and left at appropriate water levels. In narrow time windows, this leads to increased traffic volumes. In these situations, ships and port infrastructure are repeatedly damaged. In the best case this only means material damage and loss of use for shipowners or port operators, but can also have worse consequences with personal injury or environmental damage.


The aim of the project is the development of a ship-independent assistance system "SmartKai" installed at the port. On the basis of a newly developed, locally distributed and laser-supported sensor system, a consistent situation picture for different target groups will be prototypically developed using the assistance system in order to avoid accidents and damage to the port infrastructure and to directly identify the perpetrators.

A solution approach

As part of this digitisation project in Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven (NPorts), SICK is developing a new type of sensor that will be installed on land at points with a high risk of accidents in the harbour basin, the lock and a new quay.

The human-machine interaction and the design of a suitable user interface also present a challenge so that pilots, ship captains and port captains can use this information for safe navigation. The partner Humatects is investigating how the user interface must be designed in order to keep the cognitive load on the user as low as possible and thus make safe navigation possible in the first place.

The consolidation of the locally distributed sensor sources as well as the validation and evaluation of the system is done by OFFIS using the eMIR technology development platform.

Augmented Berthing Support for Maritime Pilots Using a Shore-Based Sensor Infrastructure

Falk, Michael and Saager, Marcel and Harre, Marie-Christin and Feuerstack, Sebastian; HCI International 2020 – Late Breaking Posters; 2020

SmartKai: LIDAR Based Real-Time Detection and Tracking of Moving Objects in Maritime Environments

Aparna Nagarajan, Jan Mentjes, Sebastian Feuerstack, Axel Hahn; SmartKai: LIDAR Based Real-Time Detection and Tracking of Moving Objects in Maritime Environments; 2021

Introduction to SmartKai

Sebastian Feuerstack; SICK Sensors Oceans Conference; 0August / 2021

HuMaTects GmbH


Start: 01.12.2019
End: 30.11.2022

Source of funding