Marine industry experts line up to host sessions at the NOC’s Marine Autonomy and Technology Showcase 2020

I am looking forward to chairing the session on ‘Users and Applications’ and I am anticipating some great presentations about current and future uses for current and developing Marine Autonomous Systems.

The National Oceanography Centre this week announced the expert session chairs for this year’s Marine Autonomy and Technology Showcase (MATS 2020), scheduled to take place from 10-12 November. 

Registration is now open - see for full details.

Over the last six years, MATS has grown from a relatively small event to one of the key dates in the industry calendar, attracting delegates and speakers from around the world. Last year’s event was the NOC’s biggest showcase to date, with a record number of attendees, presenters and industry exhibitors, all gathered in our giant dockside marquee. In 2019 we welcomed over 300 guests and more than 40 exhibitors for three days of insightful presentations and networking opportunities, with evening social receptions sponsored by Ocean Business 2021 and Oceanology International 2020.

Current rules and guidance around social distancing due to Covid-19 is having a huge impact upon the industry event calendar across the globe, and the MATS organising committee is making contingency plans so that the showcase will be able to go ahead in one form or another, even if a physical event is not achievable. As a result, the organising committee is still calling for abstracts. Details on this year's themes and how to submit your abstract are available at NOC Events The abstract call will close in July.

Doug Connelly, the NOC’s Associate Director for Research and a Director of NOC Innovations, will chair the session on ‘Users and Applications’. Doug has a wide-ranging experience of combining state-of-the-art sensing technology with autonomy. Doug worked on the first deployment of a chemical sensor on an AUV, with the Autosub team in 2004. Since then Doug has deployed sensors of various types on AUVs from the USA, UK and Japan in most of the world’s oceans.

Doug said: “I am looking forward to chairing the session on ‘Users and Applications’ and I am anticipating some great presentations about current and future uses for current and developing Marine Autonomous Systems.”

Peter Collinson, Lead for the Marine Autonomy Group (MAG) at BP, returns to chair at MATS and will lead the session on ‘Generating Information From Data’. Peter’s background is in marine ecology, corporate crisis response, enterprise risk management, and maritime and satellite technology. He has been working for over seven years on the uptake of MAS through supporting numerous technology programmes across a range of sectors.

Chairing duties for the session on ‘Planning and Control’ will be in the hands of Dan Ridgwell from BMT. Dan is currently the unmanned and autonomous systems capability lead for BMT, where he leads the development and delivery of this new strategic business growth area. Dan said: “As ever, the MATS 2020 conference brings together the very best experts and companies seeking to build a more compelling autonomous maritime sector. I am privileged to chair this year’s Planning and Control session and to support this first-class event. Whilst it may be delivered in a unique manner, this year’s event will undoubtedly be as rewarding and captivating as previous years. I am very much looking forward to some fascinating presentations and the discussions that follow.”

Claire Cardy of Nortek will chair the session on ‘Data Collection’. Claire studied Oceanography at the NOC. Now Claire is the Director of Nortek’s UK operation, and in 2019 she won the ‘SMI Marine Science and Technology Business Person of the Year’ award. Claire said: “Data collection is a subject area that is evolving rapidly. With increasing demands from users, and improvements in technology, we are seeing an unparalleled variety in the capabilities of MAS platforms. I’m excited to be chairing this session which covers a whole range of data disciplines, and is bound to invoke some highly intelligent discussion topics.”

The session on ‘The System’ will be chaired by Dan Hook (CEng, FRINA) from Armada. Dan was one of the founding members of ASV Global (now known as L3 Harris ASV) and held the position of Managing Director. Dan has since gone on to work with several small start-ups in the marine technology space with a focus on electric propulsion, low emissions and connectivity. He is currently leading the development of an exciting new Robotic Shipping business for the Ocean Infinity Group.

Dan commented: “MATS is a key event in the diary for anybody involved with marine robotics or ocean data. I learn a lot every year, see friends and identify business and engineering opportunities. I encourage anyone in this sector to participate.”

Aidan Thorn, the NOC’s Marine Robotics Innovation Centre manager and chair of the MATS organising committee, said: “2020 is proving to be a hugely challenging and unsettling time for people around the world, and of course it’s having a major knock-on effect on the industry events calendar. In the light of this it is especially encouraging that our expert session chairs have already come forward to offer their time and skills to contribute to MATS 2020.

“MATS is a great showcase for the pioneering work that the NOC and its partners are delivering in the field of marine robotics, for the benefit of UK industry and the scientific community. But more than this, the event is also a celebration of emerging and existing partnerships across the industry, and a genuine catalyst for innovation in the sector, with a consistent theme of collaboration underpinning many of the discussions over the last few years. I am confident that this can continue despite the many challenges that we all face at the moment.”

Full details of this year’s themes and how to submit an abstract are available on our Conference pages. The deadline for submissions is 19 July.

For further information, or to find out about exhibiting opportunities, email