NEWS

SafePASS Passenger Mobile Application for Safe Ship Evacuation

The information which is currently available on cruise ships to the passenger regarding passenger evacuation in case of emergency is only offered on the Safety Leaflets available inside the cabins and on corridor walls. This information is both static and can be difficult to understand by passengers, especially under stressful conditions, low visibility, different languages or lack of user friendliness. Additionally, the ship’s status during emergency evacuation situations is constantly changing with time and the present means do not account for such dynamic changes.

In this direction, the initial purpose of the Passenger Mobile Application developed by Telesto during the SafePASS project was to address all the above-mentioned issues and offer passengers a powerful tool to assist them during the ship evacuation process. This mobile application can be installed on a passenger’s mobile device, providing dynamic and personalized navigation to the identified exits or muster stations based on the passenger’s real-time location. In this sense, the application is fully personalized per passenger, easy to use and dynamic in terms of assessment of the passengers’ real-time status and position.

 

Overview of Features

When a passenger installs the Passenger Mobile Application on his/her mobile device, e.g. smartphone or tablet, he/she provides active consent on his/her location being tracked only under emergency evacuation situations. The mobile app also communicates with the SafePASS Core Engine in order to read biometric and identity information of the passenger, as well as the Biometric Monitoring Module (also developed during SafePASS project) to read the biosignals measured by the Smart Wristband.

The mobile app provides the passenger with monitoring of his/her location in the cruise ship and visualisation of his direction in it, as well as visual navigation during an evacuation scenario. It also provides user-friendly and simple message chatting for a group of people, i.e. family members or companions, as well as the opportunity to any passenger to quickly and easily request assistance from the ship’s crew.

The mobile app has been designed to assist passengers to safely evacuate the cruise ship as an innovative aspect of the SafePASS project, but it does not by any means operate independently since it fully adheres to the ship’s master operator in terms of evacuation procedures and orders. Its main features include:

  • Indoor localisation and position tracking;

  • Map-based navigation instructions;

  • Group text chatting communication with family members or companions;

  • Request for assistance from the crew members.

Description of Functionalities

In technical terms, the mobile app has been implemented using the Ionic framework in order to be compatible with the most widely used operating systems for mobile devices, i.e. iOS through the App Store and Android through the Google Play store.

Since it is evident that language understanding would be a limitation for passengers’ acceptance and ease of use, the mobile app was initially developed in English for testing purposes and was then revamped for Greek and French, while its Spanish and German versions are also under preparation. This is expected to drastically increase acceptance from end users independently of demographics, cultural background and computer literacy.

In terms of its usage, once the passenger checks in onboard the cruise ship the mobile app can be downloaded to his/her mobile device using the ship’s WiFi network or the device’s own cellular network, although the mobile app can be downloaded prior to this by the passengers, e.g. after ticket booking. In this way, the passenger can be identified at check-in and be given a unique username and credentials to connect.

Additionally, the mobile application is GDPR-compliant and stores no personal data of the passenger, with the exception of his/her position within the ship during an emergency evacuation situation through the indoor localisation technology embedded into the mobile app. In particular, the mobile app does not monitor the real-time position and does not track his/her routing history. No information is uploaded to any server under normal circumstances, unless an emergency occurs. Only after the emergency is declared by the ship’s safety personnel, the mobile app monitors each passenger’s position and sends it to the SafePASS Core Engine system. Furthermore, the mobile app’s design has considered Privacy by Design principles and user friendliness.

The functionality of the mobile app is twofold:

  • During the cruise, the passenger can use it during his/her leisure time on the ship, e.g.:

    • show his/her position in the ship, if lost

    • navigation to points of interest, e.g. theatre

    • provide safety instructions, e.g. how to wear the lifejacket

  • During an emergency evacuation, the passenger can follow the proper procedures to evacuate the ship based on the central evacuation plan:

    • map-based navigation to identified exit;

    • dynamic personalized evacuation routing;

    • text-based group chatting with family members or companions;

    • one-button request for assistance towards the crew personnel.

 

 

 

The core of the mobile app lies on its indoor localisation mechanism, running on the mobile device, which can determine the passenger’s location in the ship’s areas. This is originally done by using the mobile devices embedded Bluetooth transceiver, which can receive the signals emitted by the BLE beacons installed throughout the ship. Additionally, the passenger can also assist the mobile app in locating herself/himself either by selecting his/her position on a special-designed map or by scanning one of the QR codes found in the ship’s corridor.

In total, the mobile app uses 3 independent ways for the estimation of the passenger’s indoor location, leading to more flexibility and robustness:

  • automatic estimation of location using the mobile device’s BLE plugin

  • manual selection of the location by the passenger on the ship’s map

  • automatic determination of the location by scanning QR codes found on the walls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During an evacuation scenario, the ship’s central system sends the general evacuation signal to the mobile app along with the evacuation routes for passenger to safely exit the ship. The mobile app then locates each passenger and, base on his/her position, shows the designated evacuation route to be followed on the mobile app’s screen. Additionally, a step-by-step process is initiated in order to assist the passenger to navigate through all the intermediate points until the final exit or muster station is reached. When the passenger reaches each next intermediate point of his/her evacuation route, the mobile app provides instructions regarding the trajectory to be followed and the next point to be reached. Additionally, the final point of the route is always shown on top of the screen (e.g. “Muster Station”) in order to constantly keep the passenger informed.

The passenger can use the mobile app in order to have a guided navigation through the designated evacuation route by following an interactive process, where the screen shows the next point and the recommended route on the map, the passenger can indicate when he/she has reached the next point (by clicking “Next”) or requests to re-calculate his/her position in the ship (by clicking “I am lost”), and the mobile app always adjusts the map section shown on the screen and the evacuation route.

A challenge which is usually faced by both passengers and ship security operators is the transition from one deck level to another. A full-guided process has been developed in the mobile app, where passengers are given specific instructions both visually and textually on how to move through the evacuation route from the last point on one deck level to the next point on another deck level by taking the stairs, i.e. either downstairs or upstairs.

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