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Published 09 March 2015

Autonomous mobile systems are capable of reasoning about and solving unstructured problems without the direct intervention of humans, and central to future exploitation of the ocean space.

The SEATONOMY methodology gives a structured way of analyzing mobile autonomous maritime operations and systems. The goal of the methodology is to make systems developers able to design, develop and validate autonomous functionality efficiently by giving guidelines, principles, best practices and tools.

The project

The SEATONOMY project is a strategic research collaboration between SINTEF ICT, SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, and MARINTEK. The birth of the idea was a realization that several research communities within SINTEF were developing or utilizing autonomous mobility technologies, whilst lacking coherent, structured and scientifically rooted methods and tools for designing such technologies for industrial use. By combining our efforts and know-how with current state-of-the-art research within disciplines such as ergonomics, autonomy and mobile robotics we believe we can create a common methodology for design of marine autonomous mobile systems that is useful for engineering of industrially viable solutions.

The methodology

The word autonomy has seen several definitions throughout, and is given in SEATONOMY as the ability of an engineering system to make decisions about its own actions while performing a task, without the direct involvement of an exogenous system or operator. We emphasize that autonomy is not all-or-nothing, but rather a family of approaches that leads a system to some degree of autonomy. SEATONOMY focuses on finding the correct degrees of autonomy, as this way of thinking leads to designs that are focused on solving the operation in an optimal manner (goal driven) rather than being technology driven.
A methodology is a systematic set of tools, methods, principles, rules, and analyses for regulating a given discipline. SEATONOMY offers a way to understand which methods, techniques, etc can be applied to designing autonomy for marine systems. SEATONOMY views the problem along three viewpoints in order to achieve this, and the workflow is incremental and iterative.

• The operational viewpoint
Overall design and specification of the operation, i.e. the detailed formulation of the actual problem. A main aim is to give a common understanding between all stakeholders regarding the operation to be performed.
• The system viewpoint
Detailing the actual cyber-physical system (the solution) with special focus on sensors, intelligence and communication, and the link between operation and system.
• Verification and validation
Ensuring that the solution fits the problem and real life deployment.

If you are interested in learning more about this methodology or the project, please contact Esten Ingar Grøtli for more information.

Research Scientist

Project duration

01/01/2013 - 31/12/2015