Skip to main content
Education and work: maritime sector, ETT and BCService present STEP (Smart Education Platform), a virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) multi-platform for training crews for lifeboat release operations at the Merchant Navy Academy.
The potential of immersive tools (virtual scenarios, 3D animations and AR) for handling emergency situations, without endangering the safety of on-board personnel, is the focus of the research and development project coordinated by the leading international digital industry. At the same time, technological verticalities represent opportunities for time and cost containment.

Genoa, 29 November 2021The high number of accidents among naval crew members during exercises involving the use of life-saving equipment, such as lifeboat lowering operations, is one of the reasons that has prompted the Merchant Navy to completely rethink the way it conducts training sessions,wanting to reduce the risk of endangering the safety of operators. It is with this in mind, and in order to respond first and foremost to the need to operate safely in pseudo-real scenarios of extreme conditions, that ETT, the creativity and

digitisation industry that is part of the SCAI Group and is a leader in the sector on an international scale, has decided to launch STEP (Smart Education Platform), ), a technological platform for the indoor use of innovative educational content,a complete package of training courses in the Blue Economy. Giovanni Verreschi, CEO of ETT, commented on the company’s involvement in the STEP project: ‘

We particularly welcomed the opportunity to experiment with the Merchant Marine Academy in Genoa with the results achieved through the ship crew training platform. This may allow to contain the number of incidents during exercises and, at the same time, from a technological point of view, to increase the attractiveness/engagement for operators, unlike in the traditional frontal instruction. The immersiveness of ETT’s solutions plays a key role in engaging the user in an interesting, innovative and captivating dimension for possible exploration in the 3D dimension. ”.

Paola Vidotto, Director of the Merchant Navy Academy, comments:‘Our institute has always worked to enhance the skills of our students, not only in terms of the specifics of the individual course. The STEP project is part of a broader plan to develop operational capabilities, which are also a tool – for those embarking on a maritime career – to become increasingly familiar with high technology and integrated systems development. Vincenzo Cimmino, Quality, Training and Compliance Director BCService said: ‘

We are very proud, as BC Service and even more so as people with the sea in their DNA, to be able to see our future, the future of shipping, safely and independently familiarise and train with the STEP platform. Together with our partners, ETT and Aitek, we have generated an alternative that is absolutely safe, valid in that it is very likely and, last but not least, effective, for the training of seafarers involved in launching and recovering lifeboats.’

The use of enabling technologies of Industry 4.0, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), made possible the implementation of a project considered challenging and ambitious by the scientific community at large.

The STEP project, one of the projects under the Innovation Agreements between the Ministry of Economic Development and the Liguria Region, and co-funded by the Liguria Region with funds from the ERDF ROP, can be configured as a multi-channel and modular technological platform offering pseudo-real operational scenarios with the aim of enhancing vocational training and education, by providing for the adoption of tools compatible with a VR Experience Room. At the same time, the use of the virtual in training moments is a factor in cutting costs and time and making the course itself more attractive. In particular, the operation reproduced by the immersive technologies ETT has invested in is that of the lifeboat release system suspended from cables on the sides of the navigation units. The STEP project integrates two modes of interaction with content, virtual reality (GAME VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Thanks to the former, it is possible to project students into virtual scenarios and require them to learn a series of activities in the LSA Life Saving Appliances. The virtual environment is an environment supervised by Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that extract indices of performance and adherence to the course and assist the tutor in his or her assessment of candidates. The AR module, on the other hand, allows the visualisation of 3D models and animations of objects usually used during exercises (hooks, parts of lifeboats), as well as interaction with them. Common and structural factor of the two modules is the element of gamification, i.e. the systemic implementation of the game metaphor, so as to make the moment of learning notions that are less attractive in a classical mode engaging and appealing to the user. This project involves the development of three training packages, namely the basic/intermediate/advanced course for Capolancia. In addition to practical activities in virtual scenarios, the course includes basic training elements accessible in e-learning mode, with additional content accessible via Apps and augmented reality. The platform will be able to offer training packages across different professional sectors, making them available through STEP’s marketplace. ETT, responsible for project development, coordination and content production, was assisted by Aitek and BCService. The former provides real-time dynamic management of the training scenario and candidate assessment using Artificial Intelligence and deep learning approaches. BCService, on the other hand, deals with the testing and analysis of pilot cases with a specific focus on marine safety applications.