Comparing a VR ship simulator using an HMD with a commercial ship handling simulator in a CAVE setup

  • Rieke Leder 
  • Matthis Laudan  
  • BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik, Hochschulring 20 , 28359 Bremen, Germany
  • b University of Bremen, Bibliothekstraße 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Cite as
Leder R., Laudan M. (2021). Comparing a VR ship simulator using an HMD with a commercial ship handling simulator in a CAVE setup. Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Harbor, Maritime and Multimodal LogisticModeling & Simulation(HMS 2021), pp. 1-8.


The education of seafarers is extended by on-board experience and simulator training in order to prepare them for their work. Simulator training is especially helpful to acquire situation awareness and practice high risk maneuvers, which could not be performed during real missions. Unfortunately, commercial ship handling simulators are very expensive, occupy a lot of space and students are only provided with limited access and practice time. Therefore, we developed a low-cost, low-space alternative prototype using head-mounted displays (HMD). We aimed to resemble the commercial simulator, which is a cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE), as close as possible, by using real ship maneuvering data and recreating the bridge interior. Interactions with the interior were translated to controller interactions and an elementary physics simulation was added. We conducted a within-subject user study to compare our new HMD setup with an existing commercial CAVE setup. The results show, that the simulator using an HMD cannot compete with the CAVE setup in terms of realism. Although the immersion is higher, the HMD setup lacks in realism due to the low-level physics simulation. Nevertheless, the prototype is found to be a good foundation for further development as tool for educating ongoing nautical officers.


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