Leds

LEDs to Lead the Way for the Era of Autonomous Ships

Autonomous technology is not just for cars. The industrial shipping industry is also in a position to directly benefit from driverless platforms. In fact, there’s a possibility that marine-based vessels will operate autonomously before land-based vehicles, as there are less obstructions and challenges to address during navigation (no pedestrians, intersections and stop lights). How will LEDs usher self-driving ships into the modern era of shipping?

Reliable Lighting for Unmanned Ships

Recently, Google and Rolls-Royce announced a strategic partnership that would streamline the development of driverless ships. Machine learning, as well as AI-powered classification systems will be applied for identification of other ships and landmarks on the ocean. When developing driverless platforms for vessels, engineers feed images to the system in a virtual environment, before deployment in a live setting.

For accurate sensing, ships require powerful lights around the vessel. Because the units will not be operated by a crew (the overall goal is unmanned navigation), the lamps must be reliable. LEDs can meet such rugged prerequisites due to their solid-state design. Furthermore, the vessels will need to be equipped with standard navigation lighting.

LIDAR and LEDs

Autonomous platforms use LIDAR systems to gauge and monitor distance. The unit sends out rapid light beams and measures the duration of travel between the sensor and object. LIDAR components are generally expensive to acquire, as the technology is mostly used in the military and for large-scale surveying.

Cheaper LIDAR variants have started to enter the market, which utilize LEDs for operation. Instead of using lasers for detection, the units emit a blinking LED chip. The blinking LED contains a unique signature that is constantly monitored by the unit. These low-cost LIDAR systems are capable of identifying objects as far as 45 meters with up to 95 percent accuracy.

Going beyond autonomous ships, LED-powered LIDAR units can be installed on drones, due to their extremely compact size.

underwater lighting

Addressing Pitfalls of Underwater Lighting with LEDs

This article is sponsored by Larson Electronics, US manufacturer of commercial boat lights.

The ocean is extremely unpredictable, making illumination vital to sustaining marine operations. For underwater operations, such as the installation of large valves or inspection of lengthy pipelines, underwater lighting must be used to withstand the rough environment. These days, such requirements are being addressed by LEDs.

Find out how LEDs are being used to illuminate underwater work sites below.

Color Temperature and Power

Before the introduction of LEDs, halogen lights were used for underwater lighting. Unfortunately, the outdated light sources were ineffective in dealing with the environment.

Halogen lights emit a color temperature of 3,000K. This range is not bright enough for deep, underwater sites. LEDs, with a color temperature range of 3,500K to 9,000K, are better at providing sharp illumination. When compared to incandescent light sources, LEDs offer higher lumen output, while consuming less energy.

As a primary, underwater light source, LED lamps may take on rubber, handheld grips. This can help operators position light beams over the target, using gloved hands (when protected by a wet suit).

Seamless Integration with Tools

Although underwater locations are spacious, compact light sources are preferred by marine operators. Compact luminaries can be combined with tools and equipment to form a cohesive device. For instance, a low-voltage drill could incorporate a small LED light above the head for direct illumination over the target. The unit could be battery powered for portable applications.

For safety, integrated LED lighting could also improve reaction times for both underwater workers and camera operators overseeing operations remotely in a separate, above-ground facility.

As a pressure-tolerant unit, LEDs are ideal light sources for underwater, remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs). The luminaries can be equipped with heavy-duty parts to be able to withstand extreme depths and exploratory projects carried out by ROVs. Lastly, for discreet viewing of deepwater creatures, infrared LED lamps can be used.

truck lights

Choosing Trailer & Truck Lights For Boating Operations

Boating operations are mostly limited to large bodies of water. But before the vessels are deployed at the shore or dock, they must first be transported to the location. Due to the size of boats, most individuals use trailers, trucks or other heavy-duty hauling equipment, or even a large vessel. Like boats, these units utilize trailer & truck lights for navigation, visibility and safety.

Keep reading to learn more about choosing a set of luminaries for your trailer or truck for supporting marine operations at the dock.

Compact and Reliable

LEDs are the way to go for illumination during deployment and preparation at marine sites. They are compact and won’t get in your way when trying to fit in between tight spaces. The lights also consume less power, streamlining compatibility with low voltage requirements typically observed in automotive and marine systems. Furthermore, LEDs are solid state and offer better resistance against rough handling and outdoor elements.

It’s important to point out that individuals residing in the US or Canada must adhere to some of the same set of guidelines for trailer lighting systems. Such configurations include the application of an amber and red light close to the front axle (for side clearance), as well as conventional turning and stop lights. The size of the trailer being used, which depends on the size of the boat being hauled, will determine the application of other lighting configurations.

Mounting Options

There are several types of mounting options for truck lighting systems. For supporting boating operations, a remote-controlled LED light can be mounted on the roof of trucks, via a mounting plate. Such elevated positions allow the unit to illuminate the entire target area, from a safe distance. Handheld variants are also useful for setting up vessels near docks. A pistol-grip LED spot light is ideal for inspecting the water before deployment, with the use of intense, sharp beams capable of reaching far distances.

Lastly, because trailer and truck lights for boating operations are exposed to saltwater, they should take on corrosion resistant builds.