Maritime technology is developing rapidly, and autonomy, digitization, and processing of large amounts of data can have a profound impact on the actors in the maritime sector. This presents complex challenges that slow down market maturation. Regulatory authorities and other stakeholders need help to keep up with technological developments, and the human aspect may be downplayed.
When autonomous maritime technology is introduced to a market, many assume that humans will become redundant. But on the contrary, increased autonomy and automation will lead to the human role in the system becoming far more critical. This is also known as the automation paradox.
The MIDAS capacity initiative - 'humans in future maritime operations' - addresses the role of humans in connection with tasks at sea where autonomy and automation are given an ever-increasing place. The project comprises partners and representatives in technology, design, and business development from academia, the research environment, and business.
NTNU represents all three areas through interdisciplinary participation from various departments; SINTEF Digital brings in expertise in human factors in digitalization, DNV brings heavy expertise in class companies, while the three clusters Digital Norway, Ocean Autonomy Cluster, and Blue Maritime Cluster collectively represent 150 companies within the digital and maritime industry. The ambition is to strengthen central Norwegian businesses’ innovation capacity, development, and export of autonomous sea space technology.
The project collaboration is divided into five work packages:
During the project’s first year, two "Experts in team" villages were established at NTNU, which address topics related to the role of humans in future maritime operations and the possibilities of gaming technology. One of several planned hackathons with students, a student competition for autonomous systems, 20 student project collaborations, and three master's theses have also been completed. EduRov, a separate drone kit for homemade drones, is being further developed to be included in secondary education to arouse interest in autonomous technology with simple means.
MIDAS has also associated a Ph.D. candidate and a professor II position at NTNU. SINTEF's professional network, "Human factors in control,” is also associated with MIDAS and organizes conferences and meetings throughout the year.