Conference Program

Day 1: Tuesday, June 25

Keynote Presentations
09:05 - 12:40


James Fanshawe
UK MAS Regulatory Working Group


Opening Address: Welcome to Amsterdam

Jan Egbertsen
Manager innovation
Port of Amsterdam


Regulatory scoping exercise of IMO instruments

Henrik Tunfors
IMO MASS Working Group
The presentation will focus on the regulatory scoping exercise currently being carried out by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in particular the working group on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), in order to identify gaps and problematic areas to address to make possible the operation and certification of autonomous ships for use in international trade. What decisions led to the IMO becoming engaged in such a huge task encompassing 20+ international conventions and an even larger number of international codes? What limitations have been applied, what definitions have been developed to guide the work, and will the human element be taken into account? These and a number of other issues will be in the spotlight during the presentation.


US Maritime Administration’s work on autonomous ships

Richard Balzano
Deputy maritime administrator
US Department of Transportation, Marine Administration
The US Maritime Administration is the United States’ Federal agency dedicated to the continuous improvement of the US merchant marine – internationally, coastwise, and domestically. A smooth transition to the autonomous surface ships of the future is part of a global movement that will build on the United States’ strengths in communications, artificial intelligence, robotics, marine engineering, sensor technologies and maritime education.


The shipowner’s perspective on autonomous ship operations

Stephen Brown
Innovation manager
Shell Trading
This presentation will offer attendees an insight into how a major shipowner and operator views developments toward autonomous shipping and the operational challenges and opportunities that arise from them.

10:30 - 11:00



Latest results in evidence-driven evolution toward autonomous shipping

Dr Kalevi Tervo
Global program manager
ABB Marine & Ports
ABB continues to demonstrate progress toward autonomous shipping by an evidence-driven evolution approach with its new product family called ABB Ability Marine Pilot. Each individual product within the Marine Pilot family offers a solution to a specific issue within the autonomous operation of ships. In 2017 ABB launched the Pilot Vision situational awareness tool; in 2018 it launched the Pilot Control intelligent ship operations platform, followed by a live demonstration of the application of the platform for remote control on existing tonnage. This presentation introduces the latest development results, cases, and next steps in the journey toward the electric, digital and connected future of shipping.


A set of guidelines toward autonomous shipping

Jerome Faivre
Smart ships rules manager
Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore
Autonomous ships need to achieve a safety level equivalent to that of conventional ships. This is hard to define because much of what the industry defines as ‘safe’ is built on historic knowledge and lessons learned from accidents. At a basic level, autonomous ships must comply with relevant regulations. Operational risks for autonomous ships are generally similar to those of conventional ships, but with risk transferred from crew to sensors and cyber-physical systems. The question is how to measure those risks and mitigate them.


Low-power, long-endurance autonomy

Henry Robinson
Managing director
Wave-propelled boats are being used for ocean science, environmental monitoring and security applications. This paper looks at how we have addressed the challenge of designing and operating small boats for weeks on end with minimal power. It gives an overview of what we have achieved in the fields of navigation, boat control and communications.


Toward USV missions in congested shipping lanes – autonomous survey

Charles Fralick
Maritime chief engineer
Leidos will present the results of its unmanned surface vessel (USV) demonstration in the Annual Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) 2018. During the demonstration, the Pathfinder USV conducted survey operations to IHO specifications in a region frequented by vessel traffic. Additionally, Pathfinder autonomously launched and recovered a survey autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in support of the mission. This was completed amid regular interruption by surface vessels in the area. Sea Hunter maneuvered to COLREGs standards and completed a 100% survey coverage of the area – all achieved while behaving as would be expected of a manned vessel.

12:40 - 14:00


Collision Avoidance
14:00 - 17:30


James Fanshawe
UK MAS Regulatory Working Group


Situational awareness in maritime collision avoidance

Dr Edmund Brekke
Associate professor
This talk presents experimental and simulation results on collision avoidance for autonomous ships from the Autosea project ( This includes experiments conducted both in Trondheimsfjorden, Norway and outside Den Helder, Netherlands. The methods used include a combination of model-predictive control (MPC) and multi-target tracking based on probabilistic data association. The talk will highlight important principles for situational awareness, such as transparency and proactivity, and discuss how the aforementioned methods support these principles. The talk will also cover the potential of data-driven long-term prediction techniques for proactive collision avoidance, and the design of situational awareness systems for autonomous passenger ferries.


Unmanned boats: from lab to sea

Dr Stephanie Kemna
Software engineer/project manager
Maritime Robotics AS
Most unmanned boats cannot yet work with high levels of autonomy. To operate in high ship traffic areas, there are many challenges to be addressed. In this talk we highlight results from research projects on collision avoidance and safe multi-robot operations. We look into how we can smartly deploy systems for surveys, discuss current capabilities and where we need more R&D effort in coming years. This presentation shows leading-edge technology development, provides perspectives on desired levels of autonomy, and considers how to introduce systems into the market with support from certification and legislation agencies.


COLREGs-based intelligent collision avoidance framework for autonomous ships

Dr Lokukaluge Prasad Perera
Associate professor
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Ship collision avoidance in a mixed environment, where future remote-controlled, autonomous and manned vessels are interacting, has been an important topic for the shipping industry. Ship collision avoidance actions are regulated by COLREGs in open sea areas and additional local navigation rules and regulations, especially in confined waters and maritime traffic lanes. The respective collision avoidance actions will be executed by humans as well as systems in future vessels. Therefore, system intelligence should be on board to overcome possible collision or near-miss situations. This presentation focuses on developing intelligent collision avoidance systems based on COLREGs for future autonomous vessels.

15:15 - 15:45



The challenges ahead: creating AI for ships

Dor Raviv
CTO and co-founder
Orca AI
With the maritime industry increasingly turning to new technologies that claim to have the potential to solve the challenges facing ships and crews, new obstacles have arisen. Tasked with creating 'smarter navigation', the industry must first find ways to collect higher quality data; train AI; and develop systems, computer vision, sensors, and algorithms designed for open water as well as crowded waterways. Dor Raviv, CTO of Orca AI, a company using AI to prevent maritime collisions, will speak about what can be done to solve the challenges and how the industry must go about accomplishing its goals.


Digital-twin-based autonomous systems

Koen Geirnaert
dotOcean NV
The new-generation autonomous systems have digital twins. The digital twin is a uniform fundamental building block for communities of autonomous systems and is a cloud-based access point to the autonomous system. This presentation will describe an example of such a system provided by dotOcean Automate Your Boat (AYB). The proposed architecture generates augmented reality for autonomous systems rather than for humans, upgrading the sensor network on board with superior data. The digital twins are subdivided into a Fog and a Cloud component, where the Fog components handle real-time communication between the digital twin and the edge computer in the autonomous system, and the autonomous systems within the Fog network become one big transparent super-system capable of optimally using all available information in the network and being controlled worldwide. Simple example applications are multi-vessel path planning and object avoidance or swarm behavior.


Embed artificial intelligence on board ships

Ugo Vollmer
Autonomous does not mean unmanned. From Silicon Valley, Shone brings a realistic approach to autonomous ships.


Project SVAN - the world's first fully autonomous ferry

Iiro Lindborg
VP – remote & autonomous operations
Kongsberg Maritime Finland Oy
This presentation will provide a case study on Project SVAN - Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation. The project demonstrated a fully autonomous roadferry in winter conditions in December 2018. The case study will introduce the technologies used, along with the collision avoidance situations the autonomous navigation system encountered.
Please note: this conference program may be subject to change


June 23, 24, 25, 2020