Being able to give real time on-board advice, without depending on extensive sets of measured data, is the ultimate goal of the digital twin concept. Ideally, the models used in a digital twin only rely on current in-service data, although they have been built using simulated and possibly some measured data. Working with just the 6-DOF motions of a ship, can the local sea state reliably be estimated using the digital twin concept? Does a general model exist to do so, without the need to measure or simulate the particular ship?

In this paper, we discuss how simulations of an advancing ship, subjected to various sea states, can be used to estimate the relative wave direction from in-service motion measurements of the corresponding ship. Various types of neural networks are used and evaluated with simulated data and measured data. In order to study the generalization power of the neural networks, a range of ships has been simulated, with varying lengths, drafts and geometries. Neural networks have been trained on selections of the ships in this extended training set and evaluated on the remaining ships.

Results show that the developed neural networks give a remarkable performance in simulation data. Furthermore, generalization over geometry is very good, opening the door to train a general model for estimating sea state characteristics. Using the same model for in-service measurements does not perform well enough yet and further research is required. The paper will include discussion on possible causes for this performance gap and some promising ideas for future work.

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