Ship Sim 3

Ship Sim 3 is a surface vessel simulator that can be configured using the ISO16329, IEC 62065 or proprietary detailed model, to model the behavior of a large range of ships. Applications include autopilot test and development, and training.

  • Real time high accuracy modeling of vessel, in configurable sea currents, wind speeds, and wave speeds
  • Customisable user interface
  • Joystick, helm and throttle controls can be interfaced
  • Multiple vessels can be in a simulation
  • Support for AIS, RADAR, and NMEA 2000, see below
  • Optional external 3D view

Ship Sim 3 screen shot














AIS Interface

AIS is a short range tracking protocol which allows vessels and vessel traffic systems (VTS) to exchange information on other ships and VTS stations. The information is sent over VHF radio; in order to ensure that the VHF transmissions of different transponders do not occur at the same time the signals are time multiplexed using a technology called Self-Organized Time Division Multiple Access (STDMA). A ship will transmit AIS data about its own identity, position and course; it may also receive AIS data via an AIS receiver which receives and decodes the VHF signals and passes the information on to chart displays.

Ship Sim simulates an AIS receiver, outputting the AIS data for target vessels defined within Ship Sim. The serial data is output in encapsulated VDM format, as used by most AIS receivers and compatible with suitable chart plotters.

Ship Sim 3 AIS Test Simulator

Ship Sim 3 obtains the AIS data from the target information and from the information entered on the Target Manager dialog.

Targets are extra vessels which can be defined by the user and set to follow courses or tracks. They may output NMEA TLL messages and AIS messages, which send more information on the target’s course and intended destination. Target data is also transmitted by the Radar interface. Targets can also be controlled from outside Ship Sim by TLL messages.

Target types are as follows:

  • A Simple target a vessel defined with a starting position, heading and speed,
  • ‘Track’-type targets can be defined to drive round a series of waypoints, either via a track defined by straight lines and radiused bends, or defined using Bezier curves.

The targets can be set to crab depending on the applied tide.

Radar simulator from Simutech


H Scientific formed a strategic alliance with Simutech Electronics Ltd to combine the dynamic ship simulation with Simutech's high quality radar stimulators and simulators to create a highly realistic blind pilotage training environment.

Simutech Electronics supply PC-based systems which recreate the radar signals that would normally be obtained from the radar antenna, and to feed these directly into a real radar console. Using this approach, the operator is presented with real equipment and the 'look and feel' of the ship system is guaranteed. Alternatively, Simutech can supply a complete radar simulator on a PC.

Ship Sim communicates with the radar simulators, sending information about the own-ship position and speed as well as roll, pitch and heading and rate of turn. Target vessels and environmental information is also sent, allowing the radar to maintain a picture of the scenario as would be seen in the real world.

Two distinct interfaces with the Simutech Radar systems are supported. A generic NMEA interface which sends own-ship and exercise data using predominantly standard NMEA sentences. A binary interface was developed by H Scientific and Simutech for use with Simutech Radar Simulators. This offers greater functionality than the NMEA interface, including antenna information and clutter properties.

nmea2000 sccreen

NMEA 2000

NMEA 2000 is a combined electrical and data specification for a marine data communication network between marine electronic devices such as depth finders, chart plotters, navigation instruments, and engines. It has been defined by, and is controlled by, the US based National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) and is the successor to NMEA 0183.

NMEA 2000 connects devices using Controller Area Network (CAN) technology originally developed for the auto industry. It is based on the SAE J1939 high-level protocol, but defines its own messages. NMEA 2000 devices and J1939 devices can be made to co-exist on the same physical network.

The NMEA 2000 interface is supported by Ship Sim 3, AUV Sim, Airship Sim and by the RCW operator front-end software. The software outputs onto a NMEA 2000 bus using the NMEA 2000 specification 1.3 messages (PGNs). Data can also be received from the bus. The interface can be configured to enable and disable transmission and receipt of sentences and to set the transmission interval; individual sentences may be configured to include or remove information from the sentence.

Some messages can be used to report values or set demanded values, for example, PGN 127245 - Rudder, may be used to report rudder position or it may be used to set a rudder demand. It cannot do both simultaneously. The NMEA2000 interface therefore offer 2 modes: Command or Feedback. Most messages have only a single mode (Default). For navigational data sentences, the user is given the option of selecting the sensor whose data is used in the sentence,

Interfacing to a NMEA 2000 CAN Bus requires the use of a CAN Bus adapter device. Only the EasySync USB2-F-7001 USB CAN Bus adapter is supported at this time. This connects to the host PC via a USB connection and into a standard NMEA 2000 bus via a CAN cable (9-pin). Other CAN devices may be supported on request.

The CAN Bus 'snoop' facility which allows the user to view the information on the devices attached to the CAN Bus network.