Seeking harmony in shore-based unmanned ship handling – From the perspective of human factors, what is the difference we need to focus on from being onboard to onshore?
Book chapter, 2016

Previous studies have discovered that the tacit but indispensable “ship sense” from seafarers is intensively involved in creating and maintaining “harmony” to assure the safety. The concept of “harmony” reveals the continuous balanced effect by tuning the ship to the dynamic environment under different situations that ship handlers strive for. While the notions of ship sense and harmony is originally created for onboard ship maneuvering, this paper extends it to the domain of shore-based control centers for unmanned ship handling from the perspective of human factors. With the loss of direct ship-sense, the harmony is also lost. This paper analyzes the challenges from having the operator onboard to onshore during ship maneuvering and explores the changing aspects of human factors we need to focus on, in order to facilitate shore-based ship-handlers to regain the harmony. The EU project Maritime Unmanned Ship though Intelligence in Networks (MUNIN) provides the context to conduct the focus group interview of participants with seagoing experience. The shifted human factors in shore-based unmanned ship handling are discussed. The results highlight several differential aspects in human factors that should be considered, such as situation awareness. It provides keys to design shore-based control center for remote monitoring and control in accordance with user-centered design principles.

Onboard Ship Handling


Human Factors

Situation Awareness

Ship Sense

Shore-based Unmanned Ship Handling


Yemao Man

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations

Monica Lundh

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations

Thomas Porathe

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations

Human Factors in Transportation: Human Factors in Transportation Social and Technological Evolution Across Maritime, Road, Rail, and Aviation Domains

9781315370460 (ISBN)

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology


Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies

Other Social Sciences

Human Computer Interaction



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