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Keynote Presentations and Lecture Series

Keynote Presentations

August 3, 2020
9am – 11:30am EDT

New Developments in Offshore Robotics For Certification of Assets

Offshore robotics and artificial intelligence linked to data hold huge potential to revolutionise the way we inspect, repair and maintain our offshore structures. However, current use cases and business models present fundamental interdisciplinary scientific challenges. Once solved, we can realise remote, semi-autonomous systems that will work safely in marine, topside (on asset) and airborne environments.

These research challenges include:

a) mapping and surveying of complex structures using multiple robots equipped with distributed, mobile optical and acoustic spatial sensors and industry accepted non- destructive evaluation (NDE) sensors in the dynamic and challenging off-shore environment,

b) planning and execution of efficient, localisable and repeatable motion, and contact of heterogeneous robotic deployment platforms (wheeled and legged for topside, aerial and marine) for sensor placement and manipulation in extreme and dynamic conditions - with specific emphasis on failure prediction, re-planning and recovery strategies,

c) effective communication of world view, system actions and plan failures between remote robot and operator to develop trust and avoid unnecessary aborts,

d) designing robotic systems that can self-certify and guarantee their safe operation, including when learning systems are involved.

The presentation will review work underway in the UK’s ORCA Hub to address these scientific challenges and apply them to industrially defined application use cases from offshore energy.

Presenter: Professor David Lane
Heriot-Watt University’s School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

Professor David Lane Ph.D., CBE, FREng, FRSE is a passionate scientist, innovator, educator & personal investor in the twin disciplines of Robotics & AI.

As Founding Director he co-created the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and National Robotarium, a £120m research and translation hub at Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities with 150+ staff and PhD students. He is Principle Investigator in the EPSRC ISCF/Industry ORCA Hub developing advanced robotics for offshore energy asset integrity management from the science base in Edinburgh, Oxford, Imperial College and Liverpool.  He has published 300+ peer reviewed papers engineering advanced cognition, sensing & bio-inspiration into unmanned systems,

A founding startup-to-scaleup award winning CEO ( Edinburgh, San Diego) he is Chairman or NED in 5 businesses & 1 fund in UK, Norway, Hong Kong with experience in Edtech, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Offshore Energy, Defence and Food.

His entrepreneurship has been recognized through the 2011 Praxis Unico Business Impact Achieved Award, the 2013 Scottish Digital Technology Award for International Growth, the 2018 Guardian University Business Collaboration Award and the 2019 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Champion Award. 

He is co-chair of the UK Government Robotics Growth Partnership appointed by the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and a member of the UK AI Council.  

Power to Progress: Offshore Wind Technology and Market Trends

The global offshore wind market it thriving, with technology and innovation driven from the rapidly expanding European market and a number of global markets in various phases of realizing the potential for offshore wind. This presentation will give an overview of the evolution of offshore wind technology and what the future may look like. Deployment of innovative offshore wind technology is dependent on both physical conditions and market condition; therefore, it is important to understand the context of offshore wind deployment from a market standpoint. This presentation will discuss global market trends, and will also take a deeper dive into the current state of the industry in the U.S.

Presenter: Dr. Alana Duerr
Director, Offshore Wind North America
DNV GL - Renewables Advisory

Dr. Duerr is the Director for the Offshore Wind North America practice within DNV GL Energy’s Renewables Advisory where responsible for leading the direction of technical work and innovation on DNV GL’s offshore wind team. She has been in the offshore renewables space for the past 11 years, with a specific focus on offshore wind for the past 7 years. Prior to DNV GL, Dr. Duerr was the Offshore Wind Lead for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office where she led the offshore wind R&D portfolio, including the Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects, the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium with NYSERDA, and was a leader in the strategic planning and implementation of the 2016 National Offshore Wind Strategy, a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of the Interior. She has her B.S. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Webb Institute, and her Ph.D. in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University.

AUVs and ASVs: Realities of Unmanned Maritime Digitalization

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASVs) have been robustly under development for more than 30 years. Many versions have already been fielded and have provided some of the anticipated advantages. The applications, while starting simple, are morphing to the more complex. Engineering, including autonomy and reliability, continue to be a challenge as the young technology matures. This talk will discuss various types of AUVs and ASVs, the associated advantages and limitations, current and future applications, operational approaches, engineering challenges, commercial aspects, as well as lessons learned.

Presenter: Thomas S. Chance
Marine Technology Entrepreneur
Former CEO, C & C Technologies and ASV Global (Retired)

Thomas Chance is a marine technology entrepreneur. He founded C & C Technologies out of his home in 1992. C & C became a global oil field surveying and mapping company with 600 employees in ten offices worldwide. C & C was the first company in the world to offer autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) survey services to the oil industry. The company developed extensive AUV technology, executed more than a half-million kilometers of AUV survey lines, and remains a world leader in the field. In 2015, Mr. Chance sold C & C Technologies to Oceaneering International.

Complementing the autonomous underwater vehicle business, Mr. Chance started ASV Global LLC in 2010. ASV had 170 employees, offices in the US and Europe, and had built more than 100 state-of-the-art autonomous surface vehicles (unmanned boats) for the defense and commercial sectors. In addition to selling unmanned vessels, the company leased unmanned vessels, integrated a variety of payloads into the vessels, and assisted clients with their unmanned programs. Mr. Chance sold ASV Global in 2018 to L3 Harris where he remained until his retirement in June 2019.

Mr. Chance's experience with both the development and field operations of AUVs as well as ASVs gives him a unique, overarching, and real world perspective of these technologies.

Mr. Chance has a BS in Electrical Engineering from LSU, an MS in Engineering from Purdue, and an MS in Industrial Administration also from Purdue.


August 4, 2020
9am – 9:50am EDT

Application of control system science to wave energy harvesting

Optimising energy capture for wave energy devices is complex, owing to the reciprocating nature of the energy flux, variation in wave height and period, and the non-causality of the optimisation problem. Techniques from the control system sciences can be useful in many aspects of wave energy device optimisation, including energy maximising control, estimation of unmeasureable hydrodynamic excitation force, wave and force forecasting, data-based model determination, and parametric fitting of requisite hydrodynamic parameters. The lecture will explore these techniques and illustrate their use through some application examples.


Presenter: Professor John V. Ringwood
Department of Electronic Engineering, Maynooth University

John Ringwood received the HDipEE from Dublin Institute of Technology, the BSc(Eng) from Trinity College Dublin, both in electrical engineering, and the PhD in control systems from Strathclyde University. He also holds an MA in music technology from the National University of Ireland. Spanning a number of application areas, including steel rolling, food processing, semiconductor manufacture, robotics, and biomedical engineering, he has been working in the wave energy area for almost 20 years, focussing on the application of control technology to wave energy devices and arrays. He has published over 350 peer-reviewed papers and co-authored the text Hydrodynamic Control of Wave Energy Devices

August 5, 2020
9am – 9:50am EDT

A NO-BLADE, NO-ROTOR, CURRENT ENERGY CONVERTER (of friendly vortices and instabilities)

Horizontal marine hydrokinetic energy is clean, renewable, abundant and worldwide available in ocean currents, tides and rivers. For a hydrokinetic turbine (HKT) to become part of a sustainable energy future, environmental, economic and social issues need to be addressed. Those result in numerous harvesting challenges in addition to low power-to-volume density of renewables, a vast resource of currents slower than 2-3kn, and high deployment/retrieval/maintenance cost.

HKT challenges are discussed as addressed by the VIVACE converter, introduced at OMAE2006. It utilizes four fish-school biomimetic principles: alternating lift in VIV and galloping, enhancing instabilities, multi-cylinder synergistic FIO, and adaptive damping. Extensive lab and field testing, recent accurate modeling of FIO motion and forces, shape variation, and nonlinear oscillators result in a three-dimensional converter, with open-ended response amplitude operator, efficiency up to 88% of the Betz limit and power density of 600W/m3 at 1.26m/s (equivalent to 12m/s in air, where wind farms reach 0.01W/m3).

Presenter: Professor Michael Bernitsas
Department of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering, University of Michigan

Michael M. Bernitsas is the Mortimer E. Cooley Professor of Engineering, Professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He is Director of the Marine Renewable Energy Laboratory dedicated to basic experimental and computational research in support of harnessing MHK energy using alternating lift technologies. His research and teaching areas are offshore engineering, flow induced oscillations, renewable energy, mooring and riser dynamics. He is the Blakely-Smith 2003 medal winner, life-fellow of ASME, and life-fellow SNAME. PhD 1979 Ocean Engineering, MIT.