Home Our projects Infra Automation Design & build of simulator for remote control (AWATAR)

Design & build of simulator for remote control (AWATAR)

De Vlaamse Waterweg NV - Belgium
Market Infra Automation
Scope Control center
Country Belgium

Operation simulator AWATAR

No less than 70 million tons of goods are transported annually via De Vlaamse Waterweg (the Flemish Waterway). 427 moving engineering works on these waterways, such as bridges, locks, weirs and pumping stations, form an important link in the logistics process. About 100 of them are operated from local remote control centers. By 2032, the Vlaamse Waterweg wants to operate all moving engineering works from three remote control centers, in Willebroek, Hasselt and Evergem. For this project, the Vlaamse Waterweg relied on Agidens for the realization of AWATAR, a kind of virtual assistant who will help realize these ambitious plans and ensure that the trajectory of ships over a longer distance can be planned more smoothly.

The Automatic Waterways: Training And Reference Center or AWATAR for short will be a crucial link and tool in this transition. AWATAR simulates the virtual operation of moving engineering works with different camera angles, traffic situations and weather conditions without disrupting the actual operation. The functionality of AWATAR is twofold. On the one hand, shipping supervisors will be trained in a uniform way for their new, digital future, on the other hand it will be a standard reference design, on the basis of which new and existing moving engineering works and remote control centers will be automated and designed. Furthermore, AWATAR allows to extensively test and evaluate proposed modifications to installations.

Agidens, together with Intergo, developed a uniform operating station and the standard for operating and monitoring the moving engineering works.
The virtual environment for operation was set up with Supportsquare

With the successful delivery of the AWATAR simulator, a first step has been taken towards effective shipping management, 24/7.


  • Advice and consulting
  • Process design & engineering
  • Software engineering
  • E&I engineering
  • Construction (mechanical and E&I)
  • Automation
  • Testing & commissioning
  • Maintenance and service support


Compose a work group with inland navigation supervisors (BVB and VTS)

Persons who work in various current remote control centers throughout Flanders and / or work at specific locations with a special character.

Organize different workshops, with a focus on:

  • (Re) Design SCADA images
  • Research workload (simultaneous operation of moving engineering works)
  • Ergonomics workplace
  • Research and design of new operating station (duo workstation)
  • Camera arrangement on the moving engineering works
  • Camara layout to improve the view of the moving engineering works from a distance
  • Eyetracking
  • Design technical screens for VTS

Create new documents and standards

  • General manual for operating moving engineering works
  • Style guide central control of bridges, locks, weirs and pumps
  • View at remote bridges and locks

Design 3D-world

Including weather and seasonal influences (eg low sun in winter).

Animation of moving engineering works

With accompanying library packed with different ships and types of road users.

Create a camera planning tool

Create a camera planning tool

Development of SCADA images of various 3D artworks

Link between 3D world, new SCADA and new duo control stations

Set-up training module

Allows to adjust the simulation on the fly.

Build and design training room

With two duo workplaces and a trainer’s workplace.

Set-up e-learning platform

On a technical level, the simulator had to approach the various real technical installations as closely as possible. During the workshop we used mock-ups so that everyone had an idea of what the control center was going to look like. After feedback on the mock-ups, we rebuilt the control center in virtual reality so that the operator could experience what the operating station would look like and what influence the positioning of the operating stations would have in relation to each other. In the end, this resulted in a uniform operating station.

Tom Haesebrouck, project manager Agidens Infra Automation


  • Standard uniform operating station for new control centers
  • Training / knowledge center for the training of all operators in Flanders
  • Creation of new documents and standards for remote control of moving engineering works

Technical information

  • Unity: development 3D world / camera planning tool
  • Vijeo Citect: SCADA development
  • Siemens SIMATICS S7-400 F: emergency stop and linking of moving engineering works to control center
  • Creon: supplier of duo control station


This project was realized in collaboration with Intergo and SupportSquare.

On 11 May 2021, Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters visited the AWATAR simulation room in Willebroek.

Video ©RTV

Project Awatar from 14’05” to 16’13”