Drs MacKinnon and Veitch are developing simulator technologies and collaborative virtual environments to mobilize knowledge for training people who work in the offshore petroleum and shipping industries with the goal of improving safety of life at sea.
According to Dr. MacKinnon, the results of the project will provide the groundwork for partnering companies Virtual Marine Technology and Presagis to fine tune their product solutions so they can meet the training needs of their customers.
"Training for emergency procedures is normally done under very controlled and benign conditions," explained Dr. MacKinnon. "We are using simulation and virtual reality in two ways. As a research platform, we can examine how people behave and make decisions under stress. This way we can improve upon the training and systems used in the oil and gas industry. These platforms can also be used for procedural training. More regular, recurrent training should prepare people to act instinctively should an emergency arise."
The program will also result in a specialized research and development facility for testing simulation technology and evaluating human performance in virtual environments. Dr. MacKinnon notes that this facility will go a long way to help with the formation of a marine simulation cluster in the region.
Funding from RDC leverages $2,645,442 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Atlantic Innovation Fund; $420,000 from Virtual Marine Technology; $50,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Discovery Grant; $100,000 from Presagis as in-kind; and $300,000 in other funding.
The Research & Development Corporation (RDC) announced an investment of more than $5.3 million into research and development of 33 projects at Memorial University on Tuesday, Oc. 9 in areas relevant to offshore petroleum, ocean technology, healthcare, aquaculture and other natural resource industries.