The Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge Design has won this year’s Ergonomics Design Award, presented by the UK Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors. The award recognises industrial design which puts the customer at the heart of the process using their views to generate ideas, develop concepts and test prototypes and finished products.

Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge wins Ergonomics Design Award

The Unified Bridge is a complete redesign of the ship bridge environment, including consoles, levers and software interfaces, done using a user-centred design process resulting in a more comfortable, clutter-free and ultimately more safe and efficient working environment.

Celebrating the award Svein Kleven, Rolls-Royce, Senior VP Engineering and Quality, Commercial – Marine said:

“We are delighted to be recognised for the work we are doing in this area which shows that research and investment in Human-Machine-Interface studies is paying off and leading to new products. Having great technology is good but having great technology that people enjoy using is the way to long-term customer loyalty.”

Interviews with operators and visits to several different types of vessels, as well as on board observations of real life platform supply operations in the North Sea, were carried out in order to understand the work environment and gain insight into life at sea.

Realistic simulations in a virtual environment were carried out at Rolls-Royce’s Training and Technology Centre in Aalesund, Norway to investigate operator interaction with equipment, identifying which functions were vital and which could be removed or merged in order to improve operator performance.

The Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge Design

The results of this research informed the development of the bridge consoles. Several different prototype iterations of bridge consoles were developed, starting with the use of basic components such as cardboard and sticky notes before moving to polystyrene models and then a full-scale plastic replica which was unveiled at the Nor-Shipping convention in Oslo in May 2011. User feedback based on the plastic prototype was important in the development of prototype consoles.

The first installation of the Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge left port in August 2014 on board the platform supply vessel Stril Luna owned by Simon Møkster Shipping. The operators were equipped with user experience assessment folders, so the Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge can be developed and improved for future customers.

Rolls-Royce had been shortlisted for the award alongside competition from the University of Oxford (patient data display), as well as Ergonomie (Banking services) and DCA Design (Intercity Express Train).