The inland waterway sector experienced a substantial modernization in the past years through the introduction
of River Information Services (RIS) in many European countries. The aim of RIS is to increase safety and
efficiency in river transport through the introduction of innovative information and communication services
to users on ships and on land. In particular, safety related services require accurate position information
which is currently provided by local DGPS services.
Considering the evolution of RIS Services over the next 10 to 15 years, one focus is on the reduction of
accidents on European rivers. Past experience has shown that the most dangerous sections on rivers are those
where the fairway is narrowed by or is located close to riverside infrastructure, e.g. river locks, bridges,
and berths. The goal for the future will be to provide the boatmaster with accurate and reliable navigation
information to support his decisions, in particular during periods with limited visibility.
The only certified navigation tool in inland navigation is radar which is in an ideal case combined with the
information from ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart) where the radar image is overlayed onto the digital chart
(radar overlay). The accuracy in such case is in the range of meters, limited by the accuracy of radar.
Additionally this system does not take into account the accurate shape of vessels or convoys and hence the
available information does not allow to extract accurate distance information to the surrounding infrastructure.
The utilisation of such a system for the approach or passing of riverside infrastructure is hence limited.
At present, in such situations, visual navigation is the most used option.
The proposed application utilizes modern GNSS and augmentation infrastructure to provide accurate position
information to the boat master. This precise position information should be related to the information on
riverside infrastructure contained in the onboard ENC. The system should take into account the actual shape
of the vessel / convoy and provide specific distance information for different navigation scenarios. The aim
is to provide the distance from characteristic points of the vessel / convoy to nearby riverside infrastructure
on a real time basis with high accuracy and reliability. The information will be visualized in a suitable way
to support the boat master with navigation decisions reducing the risk of collisions with infrastructure when
entering a river lock, passing under a bridge or approaching ports and river-side berths.