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Study Tracks

Semester 3 is dedicated to one of the three following specializations – study tracks, which will take place either in Spain, Norway or Portugal.


Av. Vicent Sos Baynat, s/n 12071 Castelló de la Plana

Prof. Pedro J Sanz

Applied robotics for underwater intervention missions

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

From an underwater intervention viewpoint, the main application domains of these technologies, under development, are dealing with offshore industry, marine defence, scientific research, and aquaculture. However, there is a fast-growing demand, in all these areas, for engineers with expertise in underwater intervention systems. The latter have only recently come to the fore and aim to endow underwater robots with the capability to interact with the environment using manipulators, thus paving the way for the development of advanced systems for close-range underwater infrastructures inspection and maintenance as well as materials sampling. These issues are simply not covered in the curricula of current degrees in Europe.

A summary of the main topics at the cores of these technologies covered by Study Track 1 include: 

Autonomous underwater vehicles for Intervention (I-AUV’s); Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV’s); Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV’s); Field Robotics; Multisensory based manipulation algorithms; Localization; Guidance, navigation and control; Cooperative control architectures; Acoustic/optical image processing algorithms; Multimodal map building algorithms; SLAM techniques; Underwater mechatronics; Human-Robot Interaction (HRI); Underwater Simulators; Underwater Wireless Communication; Deep Learning.

Applied robotics for underwater intervention missions study track specific learning outcomes include qualifying Master students to:

  1. Identify the key functionalities (i.e. navigation, manipulation, perception, planning, decision-making, HRI, wireless communications and so on) inherent to underwater intervention missions in real life scenarios (e.g. Offshore Industry, Marine Sciences, Search and Rescue, Archaeology, Aquaculture, etc.).
  2. Comprehend all the complexities associated with the mechatronics underlying an I-AUV – Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Intervention.
  3. Understand the main differences between ROVs and I-AUVs, not only from a theoretical viewpoint, but also by testing both kind of intervention systems, in real conditions, identifying the application scopes, advantages and limitations underlying these coexistent technologies.

Teaching modules:

  • Perception and Manipulation, 4 ECTS
  • Multi-robot systems, 4 ECTS
  • Cognitive processes, 4 ECTS
  • Wireless communication, 4 ECTS
  • Telerobotics and HRI, 4 ECTS
  • Robotic Intelligence, 4 ECTS
  • Simulation, Middleware and Benchmarking, 4 ECTS
  • Spanish as a foreign language, 2 ECTS
Last updated on November 18th, 2022


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


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

Campus TN
logo IST

Estrada Nacional 10 (ao Km 139,7)
2695-066 Bobadela LRS

Cooperative marine robotics for scientific and commercial applications

Why become an expert in Cooperative marine robotics for scientific and commercial applications?

We are entering a new era where the use of groups of autonomous marine robots working in cooperation, networked via aerial, acoustic, and optical links will dramatically improve the means available for ocean exploration and exploitation at unprecedented temporal and spatial scales. New theoretical frameworks and cutting-edge technologies are required to bring about this revolution in the field of marine robotics, “leveraging on the transformative advances and growth of the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence”. This leap forward will hinge on the availability of a new breed of research engineer with the capacity to master the concepts and techniques required to design, implement, and field test advanced systems for multiple robotic vehicle operations, with a view to increase the safety, efficiency, and efficacy of operations at sea in a multitude of scientific and commercial scenarios.

At the core of the systems required for cooperative multiple vehicle operations are those in charge of cooperative motion planning with temporal and energy cost criteria, cooperative navigation and control, and networked operations that are often enabled via acoustic communication links that exhibit low bandwidth and are plagued with latency and temporary communication losses. The study track proposed by IST-UL, entitled Cooperative Marine Robotics for Scientific and Commercial Applications, leverages on the know-how and experience of its staff members, and aims to afford students the expertise required to advance R&D in this challenging and promising area of work.

The theoretical background required will be acquired by proper choice of the courses taught at IST-UL and at the other partner institutions. The students opting for this track will also be given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the process of going from theory to practice by participating in sea tests with real vehicles that are property of IST and include ASVs, AUVs, ROVs, and Hybrid ROV/AUV systems. Whenever possible, the master thesis in this track will include the implementation of at least one representative system (e.g. motion planning, navigation, or control) on-board a group of vehicles and the evaluation of its performance using the infrastructures and tests facilities available at IST-UL. During this phase, the students will benefit from the guidance and assistance of the research engineers at IST-UL that are responsible for the deployment, maintenance, and operation of the in-house developed robotic systems and associated software suites for seamless system implementation.

Cooperative marine robotics for scientific and commercial applications study track specific learning outcomes include qualifying Master students to:

  1. Define the key specifications that are at the root of the design of advanced cooperative networked marine robotic systems for a number of representative commercial and scientific use-cases (e.g., Offshore renewables, Ocean farming, Oil & gas surveys, Marine security and surveillance, Seabed mapping, Adaptive ocean sampling).
  2. Fully grasp how to go from functional/technical specifications to detailed system specifications inherent to the development and operation of multiple cooperative robots. Namely, the systems in charge of cooperative motion planning, navigation, and control in the presence of stringent communication constraints imposed by the water medium.
  3. Acquire a solid theoretical background in topics that are crucial to the design of the above systems for groups of heterogeneous vehicles that may include autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Hybrid ROV/AUV vehicles, and underwater gliders.
  4. Design new systems for single and cooperative motion planning, navigation, and control, followed by performance assessment via computer and hardware-in-the-loop simulations
  5. Familiarizing themselves with the problems of full system implementation and the issues of safety and good practices at sea, through applied projects.

Teaching modules:

  • Optimization and algorithms – 4 ECTS
  • Decision systems – 4 ECTS
  • Autonomous systems – 4 ECTS
  • Embedded Computational Systems – 4 ECTS
  • Distributed Real Time Control Systems – 4 ECTS
  • Telecommunication Networks – 4 ECTS
  • Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology Transfer – 4 ECTS


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