Automatic simulation programs of ship navigation can be a powerful tool for operational planning and design studies of waterways. In such a simulation system the key tasks of autonomous route-finding and collision-avoidance are performed by the simulation program itself with no or minimum intervention of a human navigator. This is in many ways similar to automatic navigation systems in that they are designed to carry out autonomous navigation safely and efficiently without the need for human intervention or to offer advice to the navigator regarding the best course of action to take in certain situations. There are two key tasks of automatic ship navigation systems: route finding and collision avoidance. This paper presents an effective and practical method for finding safe passage for ships in possible collision situations, based on the potential field method. The general steps of implementing the potential field method applied to automatic ship navigation are described. The algorithm is fairly straightforward to implement, and is shown to be effective in automatic ship handling for ships involved in complex navigation situations.
- collision avoidance
- automatic ship navigation systems
- route finding
- potential field method