Funded project

Safety is a major concern on board ships. Safety systems operate using sensors positioned throughout a vessel, providing the crew with essential information about its functioning. The data is transmitted via a complex network of communication interface cables and this network is costly to produce, install and maintain, and adds significantly to the vessel's weight.

As a way of reducing this weight and thereby vessel energy consumption, the SAPHIR project sought to develop an on-board wireless network linking sensors and alarm units. During the project, research was undertaken into refining signal production and propagation in a confined environment such as a ship. The results of measurement campaigns carried out on board a ferry were compared with simulations based on so-called ray-tracing developed by Siradel. These results revealed signal propagation modes for various typical vessel configurations - the impact of metal partitions, the damping effect of watertight doors and propagation along gangways - and led to engineering specifications being produced for how to deploy reliable wireless communications on board a ship.

In addition, the regulatory situation was reviewed during the project, as there is no uniform standard at European level relating to the parameters for testing to secure approval of a product that uses wireless communication. Without such approval, no regulatory safety equipment can be installed on board a ship. While waiting for a harmonised regulatory framework, the SAPHIR project partners intend to pursue development of a wireless communication application which is compatible with any surveillance and alarm system and which complies with current design practices for products destined for maritime applications.

In the course of the project, SAPHIR was the subject of an IETR thesis, 3 publications and 8 scientific papers. A system was installed on board a ferry in accordance with recommended engineering regulations. Propagation analysis revealed that adjustments will have to be made in relation to actual installations.
As regards commercial potential, Marinelec will be promoting this new wireless technology at professional trade fairs and directly with ship owners to encourage take up.

  • - Marinelec Technologies, Quimper  [Project Developer]
  • - Chantiers navals Piriou, Concarneau
  • - Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie, Cherbourg
  • - Siradel, Rennes
Research centers
  • - Équipe Communication Propagation Radar de l'INSA et de l'Université de Rennes 1, Rennes
  • - Institut d'Électronique et de Télécommunications, UMR CNRS 6164, Rennes
- Bpifrance
- Conseil régional de Bretagne
- Conseil départemental d'Ille-et-Vilaine
- Rennes Métropole
Overall budget
510 K€