Preliminary Conference Program

Day 1: Tuesday 25 June

Keynote Presentations
08:50 - 12:40


James Fanshawe
UK MAS Regulatory Working Group


Regulatory scoping exercise of IMO instruments

Henrik Tunfors
IMO MASS Working Group
The presentation will focus on the regulatory scoping exercise currently 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 in order to make possible, in the future, the operation and certification of autonomous ships for use in international trade. What decisions lead up to the IMO getting 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, 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, US Maritime Administrator
US Department of Transportation, Marine Administration
The U. S. Maritime Administration is the United States’ Federal agency dedicated to the continuous improvement of the U.S. 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 towards autonomous shipping and the operational challenges and opportunities which arise from them.


The role of port authorities in the development of autonomous ships

Jan Egbertsen
Manager innovation
Port of Amsterdam
In the technological development of autonomous ships, very often the focus is on the ship itself and the connection ship to ship. But when entering a seaport, new challenges arise. How to organize the interaction between ship and port authority, ship and port entrance, and ship and quayside? A smart or autonomous ship requires a smart or autonomous port. Neither of them exists at the moment. Development of smart ships and smart ports should be a joined and parallel effort.


Panel Q&A


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 application of the platform for remote control on existing tonnage. This presentation introduces latest development results, cases and next steps in the journey toward an electric, digital and connected future of shipping.


A set of guidelines towards autonomous shipping

Najmeh Masoudi
Smartships technology leader
Bureau Veritas Marine and Offshore
Autonomous ships need to achieve a safety level equivalent to 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 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, our 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 with the regular interruption by surface vessels in the area, requiring Sea Hunter to maneuver to COLREGS standards and complete 100% survey coverage of the area – all completed while behaving as would be expected by a manned vessel.


Panel Q&A

Collision Avoidance
14:00 - 17:10


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.


Panel Q&A


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 them and how the industry must go about accomplishing its goals.


Digital-twin-based autonomous systems

Dr Peter Staelens
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 in a Fog and 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.


Presentation on Project SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation) by Kongsberg Marine


Panel Q&A

Please note: this conference program may be subject to change