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Study track 2 – NTNU


Høgskoleringen 1,
7491 Trondheim,

Prof. Martin Ludvigsen

Safe Autonomous subsea operations

Why become an expert in Applied robotics for underwater intervention missions?

Subsea operations are being developed for increased autonomy in aquaculture, deep water and arctic areas (JPI Oceans, 2015). Next-generation autonomous operations require an increased focus on safety and reliability to reduce costs and improve efficiency (SPARC, 2017). An increased level of automation and autonomy in routine or otherwise tedious operations can improve safety, efficiency and performance, supporting the human operator in decision-making and supervision and reducing human workload.

Currently most subsea inspection, maintenance and repair operations (IMR) require support of a top-side vessel, marine robotic systems, tools and experienced operators. They are in general manually controlled, with little or no automatic control functions nor autonomy. Efficiency in operations is highly dependent on the experience of the operators. Autonomy in operations is a stepping stone towards increasing efficiency and thereby reducing costs in subsea operations, and thus an R&D priority. Navigation, positioning and localization are critical technologies for enabling such autonomous operations as it is not possible to use Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS’s) under water. However, several other technologies are available such as acoustic systems, sonars, DVL (Doppler Velocity Log) and vision-based systems covered in Study track 2.

Safe Autonomous subsea operations study track specific learning outcomes include qualifying Master students to:

  1. Gain knowledge and understanding of autonomy and the key elements of autonomy, the importance and use of deep learning in autonomous systems and autonomy in operations.
  2. Have insight into the development of digital twins for simulation and operation of autonomous robots, and the concept of digital twins.
  3. Be capable of finding solutions for autonomous marine robots and understand the implementation and realization aspects.
  4. Acquire knowledge using navigation and localization in autonomous operations.
  5. Understand risk management in autonomous operations, different risk handling methods and analytical approaches to hazard management.
  6. Insight in deep water technology related to both offshore operations and also in relation to biological aspects.

Teaching modules:

  • Decision making under uncertainty for autonomous systems 7.5 ECTS
  • Marine Control Systems, specialization course 7.5 ECTS
    • Safe and autonomous subsea operations, 3.75 ECTS
    • Marine Mechatronics  3.75 ECTS
  • Marine Control Systems, specialization project 7.5 ECTS
  • Research-based Innovation Methodologies in Computer and Information Science or Safety and Asset Management 7.5 ECTS


NEXT EMJMD MIR APPLICATION CAMPAIGN: October 24th, 2022 – January 15th, 2023