Norway has an internationally leading role in developing autonomous maritime technology, mainly due to a strong collaboration between research, academia, and industry in central Norway over many years. 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 struggle 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.
There is a need to strengthen the business community's expertise in design and business development, where the role of humans is considered to a greater extent. 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. MIDAS 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 in heavy expertise in, among other things, 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 that include project management and dissemination; human factors; trust in autonomy; business development, commercialization, and internationalization; new methods in design and business development; student cooperation, and recruitment for Central Norway.
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.
Courses have also been established for 'design thinking for technologists', two continuing education courses, and four continuing education programs. An international collaboration with MIT has also been established, and follow-up research has been carried out with more than 1,000 surveys and 150 interviews of passengers during the trial operation of the world's first self-driving city ferry, milliAmpere II. In addition, more than 50 communication activities have been registered, including several national and international delegations, national and international lectures, media coverage, and two chronicles on trust.
Work Package Leader meetings have been held continuously during the project's first year and will continue with the same frequency in 2023. There are further plans to strengthen the focus on student competition and recruitment with separate "MIDAS" days where businesses, professionals, and students can meet and participate in joint workshops. There are also several publications from the follow-up study and several gatherings, workshops, and courses with the business community in the coming year.
Kapasitetsløftet Mennesket i fremtidens havromsoperasjoner (MIDAS) skal styrke midtnorsk næringslivs innovasjonsevne, utvikling og eksport av autonom havromsteknologi gjennom et kraftig kapasitetsløft innen kompetanseområdene «design» og «forretning».
Prosjektet tar utgangspunkt i den svært raske utviklingen innen autonom havromsteknologi i Midt-Norge; betydningen dette har for fremveksten av nyskapende virksomheter og for mulige brukere i regionen, og det store eksportpotensialet Norge har innen feltet. Regionen har tilgang til sterke operative miljøer innen maritim og marin næring, og regionens internasjonalt orienterte teknologimiljøer utvikler allerede verdensledende løsninger, men fagfeltet er ungt, markedet umodent og markedsintroduksjon bremses av for lite kunnskap og kapasitet, spesielt innenfor fagområdene:
- Menneskelige faktorer - menneskets rolle i møte med autonome systemer
- God design for utvikling av intuitive- og tillitsskapende grensesnitt mellom menneske og maskin
- Forretningskompetanse i umodne/ikke-eksisterende markeder
MIDAS skal løfte kapasiteten i, og styrke samspillet mellom tverrfaglige fagdisipliner/-miljø som er viktige for utvikling og kommersialisering av autonom havromsteknologi. Løftet skal gi ny tverrfaglig kunnskap og kapasitet til bedrifter i verdikjeden av autonom havromsteknologi og FoU-miljø, og bidra til at flere bedrifter bruker forskning i sitt innovasjonsarbeid. Dette skal oppnås gjennom aktiviteter og arbeid innen følgende områder:
AP 1. Menneskelige faktorer i autonome systemer
AP 2. Tillit til autonomi gjennom systemforståelse og –design
AP 3. Forretningsutvikling, kommersialisering og internasjonalisering
AP 4. Nye metoder innen design og forretningsutvikling for autonome systemer
AP 5. Midt-Norge som attraktiv arbeidsplass og studenter som ressurs