– Online risk management and risk control for autonomous ships

Autonomous ships are expected to improve safety and environmental impact at sea and reduce the number of human injuries and fatalities.

The advancements in the technological systems onboard, the operations, and the interactions with the environment, however, may increase interlocks, complexities and hazards that are hard to identify, assess, and control. Without proper safety and security measures, the risk related to autonomous ships may not be found acceptable by the regulatory bodies and the society.

Even more complex power and propulsion systems will be installed in autonomous ships. If personnel are not onboard to operate, the ship needs to have safe and reliable onboard systems with high availability to be able to maneuver safely in the seaway.

Shutting down and remobilizing the ship operation due to hazards caused by autonomous systems are not economically viable, nor acceptable from a risk perspective.

Increased Level of Autonomy in complex maritime operations may support the human operator in supervision and decision-making and reduce human workload.

With reduced human operator intervention, and eventually presence onboard, it is important to improve the situation awareness for both the autonomous ship and the operator, and provide early warnings of potential deviations outside the operating envelope to enable reconfiguration of the system and implement risk reducing measures.


This project will develop novel technological solutions for online risk management and risk control of autonomous ships. Cutting-edge interdisciplinary research combining cybernetics and risk management aims to achieve high level of autonomy, intelligence and decision-making capabilities for autonomous ships.

The goal is to enhance the realization of autonomous ships by developing safer and smarter automatic sailing systems and power and propulsion systems that are able to detect, perceive, verify, monitor, control and follow-up deviations and potential hazards.

Autonomous Bulk

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Project manager: Professor Ingrid Bouwer Utne. 

Participants in the project are NTNU, Kongsberg Maritime and DNV. The project is associated with NTNU AMOS.

Funds: 3 PhD students and 1 Post Doc:

Main supervisors for the PhD students: 

The main supervisor for Post Doc Børge Rokseth is Professor Ingrid Bower Utne

Main contacts at Kongsberg Maritime and DNV:

  • Kongsberg Maritime: Sverre Torben
  • DNV: Jon Arne Glomsrud


Find the project's publications in CRISTIN.


The project is a KPN (knowledge-building project for industry), financed by the Norwegian Research Council (MAROFF), Kongsberg Maritime and DNV.

The duration of the project is from 2018-2023.

Relevant events

  • First International Workshop on Autonomous Systems Safety (IWASS) in Trondheim, Norway 11-13 March 2019.
  • Second International Workshop on Autonomous Systems Safety (IWASS) in Los Angeles, California 24-26 March 2020 - Postponed until April 2021 (digital event).
  • Third International Workshop on Autonomous Systems Safety (IWASS) in Dublin, Ireland 28 August 2022 - before ESREL.