Programme announced for the NOC Marine Autonomy and Technology Showcase 2019

The full programme has been announced for the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) Marine Autonomy and Technology Showcase (MATS) 2019, taking place from 12–14 November at the NOC’s waterfront site in Southampton. MATS 2019 promises to be the biggest showcase of its kind to date, with a record number of expert speakers and a wide range of industry exhibitors lined up.

MATS 2019 will feature a packed three-day programme of workshops, talks, demonstrations and networking, presenting a unique and valuable opportunity to find out about the latest developments in marine technology and how this is set to develop in the years to come. The event also enables organisations to engage with the NOC to explore opportunities around funding, share experience and ideas, and get those ideas in front of influential, high-profile end-users from the marine and maritime sector.

The programme features a broad roster of expert speakers from across academia, industry and government organisations. Each day of the showcase will see leading figures from the world of marine autonomy and technology take to the stage to present on innovative, disruptive technologies, as well as discussing new developments and future challenges.

Keynote speeches

Day one of MATS 2019 will be hosted by Aidan Thorn, Marine Robotics Innovation Centre Manager at the NOC. The keynote speeches will be delivered by Jim Birch, Director of the SURF Centre at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Rear Admiral Nick Lambert, from Ocean Infinity, while the NOC’s Executive Director, Prof Ed Hill OBE, will open the event. This opening session will round off with a panel Q&A session to discuss the challenges facing the marine autonomy sector.

The afternoon’s theme will be ‘Users and Applications’, chaired by Peter Collinson from BP, and features presentations on the use of autonomous surface vehicles to trace the Belize River plume, robotics and artificial intelligence, acquiring sound data in challenging environments, essential ocean variables for Global Ocean Observing Systems, and the use of Marine Autonomous Systems in oil spill response.

Day two will be hosted by Dr Matthew Palmer, the NOC’s Chief Scientist for Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (science community engagement). Ben Pritchard (Thales) will chair the first session on ‘Planning and Control’ which will include presentations on the NOC’s Oceanids programme, safe autonomous navigation, and government support for marine autonomy.

The afternoon session will focus upon ‘The Vehicle’, chaired by the NOC’s Dr Alex Phillips (Head of Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems Development), with presentations on using AUVs for shallow water infrastructure surveys, 25 years of under ice operations, remote deployments, and an introduction to the NOC’s latest AUV, Autosub 2000 Under Ice (2KUI).

The final day of MATS 2019 will be hosted by Prof Russell Wynn, the NOC’s Associate Director for Government, International and Public Engagement. The morning session, chaired by Prof Matt Mowlem (NOC’s Head of Ocean Technology and Engineering), will focus on data collection, with presentations on autonomous sensors for leak detection from subsea carbon capture and storage sites, monitoring ocean acidification, data collection with nutrient sensors, The Ocean Cleanup, and how to choose the right ocean robot to gather your data.

The afternoon session – chaired by NOC’s Dr Eleanor Frajka-Williams – will be themed around ‘Generating Information from Data’, featuring presentations on 3D visual mapping, fault management and data analysis, machine learning, bringing marine autonomy to developing countries, and what the future holds for the Oceanids Command and Control system. Each of the sessions will conclude with a panel discussion and Q&A.

Transformative technology

Marine autonomy is a transformative technology that continues to generate huge interest from major industry sectors, including offshore renewable energy, oil and gas, and defence, and the MATS event was established by the NOC in 2015 in response to this growing interest. Outside of industry, the technology has continued to capture the public imagination with the global popularity of Boaty McBoatface, the name given to one of the NOC’s Autosub Long Range autonomous underwater vehicles, and the growing profile of climate and marine science.

Nick Lambert, who will deliver one of the keynotes at the event, said: “It’s a privilege to be invited to share Ocean Infinity’s story and leading edge data gathering capabilities at this year’s MATS showcase. The fifth iteration of this important annual autonomy diary entry will undoubtedly be as well attended and thought provoking as previous events. I’m much looking forward to it.”

Aidan Thorn, Marine Robotics Innovation Centre manager at the NOC, said: “MATS is now a key date in the marine autonomy calendar, and this year promises to be our biggest and best showcase to date. We’re looking forward to delivering a fantastic event, and this year we received a record number of abstracts which has enabled us to put together our strongest programme so far. On top of this MATS will provide a great opportunity to update our partners and the wider end-user community on the NOC’s Oceanids marine robotics development programme, and also enable us all to learn from the experiences of those who are developing marine autonomous technologies. This sharing of experience is vital if we are to fast-track the adoption of these systems to tackle the biggest environmental challenges in the ocean, as well as to take full advantage of the opportunities they provide.”

Day 1 programme – Tuesday 12 November
Day 2 programme – Wednesday 13 November
Day 3 programme – Thursday 14 November

Tickets are priced at £180 (inc. VAT) for the three-day event, which includes lunch and refreshments, access to the icebreaker drinks event, and an evening networking supper. The full programme and details on how to register are available on the NOC Conference website.

Event dates: 
Tuesday 12 November 2019 - 09:00 to Thursday 14 November 2019 - 17:00