Registration open and session chairs announced for MATS 2021

Registration is now open for the National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) Marine Autonomy and Technology Showcase (MATS) 2021, which will be held as a hybrid event for the first time on 9–11 November.

MATS has grown over the last six years to become a key event in the marine technology calendar, attracting delegates from around the world. In 2020 we welcomed over 250 guests and more than 30 exhibitors for three days of insightful online presentations and networking opportunities. This year’s showcase, which will include both a live audience and a virtual stream, will primarily focus on new developments and innovations, and will also look forward to where marine autonomous technology and ocean exploration is heading in the next five years.

The overarching themes of MATS 2021 are to explore the information needs of users of Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS), review the current technologies available to enable cutting-edge data gathering for MAS users, and explore the methods of transforming raw data into exploitable information for the end user.

Huw Gullick, Associate Director of NOC Innovations and Chair of the MATS Delivery Committee, said: “Given everything that has happened over the last eighteen months I am really pleased that we are able to host MATS 2021 at NOC whilst also injecting some of the digital tools that we have become so reliant on into the show so we can offer those who are not able to join us in person an experience of what the show has to offer this year.

Despite the global pandemic I have been so impressed by the resilience and spirit that has endured to ensure that technology development and innovation have continued in our industry. It would have been easy to take our foot off the throttle over the last eighteen months to weather the storm but we haven’t done this; this sense of determination and character is testament to the recognition that technology and innovation lie at the heart of tackling some of the biggest challenges of our time. MATS 2021 offers us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the great work from the last twelve months whilst also discussing the current and further technology developments as an industry. MATS has always had collaboration at the heart of it and I am confident that this year’s show will build on this as we move into 2022.”

Session chairs announced

The NOC are also delighted to announce this year’s session chairs:

Theme 1: Users and Applications
Session Chair - Dr Peter Collinson

Dr Peter Collinson is Founder of Dendrityca Ltd, a start-up company focused on consulting and delivering ‘multi-modal digitalization and net-zero data solutions’ for energy and maritime clients.

Peter’s experience is gleaned from over 25 years in the energy sector, leading strategic technology development of Maritime Autonomous Systems (MAS) for an oil major, and MAS application in ‘business as usual’ and ‘crisis response’ situations around the world.

He supports pre-commercial developments in marine robotic technology, both under and on the water, small and large. He is a member of the robotics committees for UKRI (Innovate UK Government) and the Industry Lead for NERC’s Net Zero Oceanographic Capability project, aiming to decarbonise the UK’s scientific fleet.

Prior to his role in MAS technology he was a Risk and Crisis Manager with extensive experience in enterprise risk management and crisis response, leading humanitarian and environmental teams during 9-11, the Asian Tsunami disaster and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. He holds a PhD in Marine Ecology.

Theme 2: Generating Information from Data
Session Chair – Dr John Siddorn - National Oceanography Centre

John Siddorn is the Associate Director, Digital Ocean at the NOC. John leads the scientific data theme at the NOC. He is an ocean modeller and has spent most of his career developing ocean models. He led the NEMO ocean model development at the Met Office for climate and forecasting, in close collaboration with the NOC, before becoming the Head of Ocean Forecasting R&D. His research interests in recent years have been in developing coupled regional models.

Theme 3: Planning and Control
Session Chair - Michael King - Ocean Infinity

With a technical background as a geophysicist, Michael started his career working offshore in oil and gas exploration across the world, and subsequently on shallow and coastal hydrographic surveys in Europe. This was followed by a move into project management, where he gained extensive experience across a range of oil and gas projects, within the offshore renewables sector and for the subsea cables market in the UK and Europe.

Since 2016, he has been focussed on business development and innovation, responsible for providing strategic commercial support and insight, with particular concentration on uncrewed systems and their applications.

He is currently a senior member of the commercial team at Ocean Infinity, responsible for their new Armada Fleet, and sits on numerous industry advisory and steering committees, including IMCA’s USV Workgroup and the Marine Studies Group of the Geological Society.

Theme 4: Data Collection
Session Chair - Dr Julie Robidart – National Oceanography Centre

Julie Robidart is the Head of Ocean Technology & Engineering at the NOC. She is a marine ecologist who develops assays, samplers and sensors to understand the interplay between organisms and their physical and chemical environments. She is involved in several international efforts to enable globally coordinated ocean observations.

Theme 5: Autonomous Platforms and Supporting Technology
Session Chair - Ben Pritchard – Thales UK

Ben Pritchard graduated from Imperial College with a 1st in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2004. His Masters thesis focused on biologically inspired robotic manipulators. He joined Thales straight after and has been a researcher, systems engineer, project manager and R&D investment manager. From 2011 to 2017 he was the Technology and Innovation Manager for Thales’ UK rail business and he is now the Research Group Leader for Autonomous Systems. Ben’s team of researchers address various aspects of autonomy that apply right across the full range of Thales capabilities and ambitions across its space, aerospace, defence, security and transport business activities.

Ben’s in-house team is the ‘hub’ that connects to a broad academic and industry partner network to conduct collaborative R&D. He’s a visiting researcher at the University of Bristol and is currently on an RAEng Industrial Fellowship embedding him at the University of Southampton, undertaking Integrated Mission Management System research for squads of Maritime Autonomous Systems. Ben has industry-supervised MBA, MSc and PhD students and is currently working with Southampton’s Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub to exploit new building blocks and methodologies to bring autonomous functions into mission-critical and safety-critical service.

MATS 2021 three-day delegate tickets are priced at £185.00 (including VAT) with a limited number of student places available costing £90. The full programme and biographies of the speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. Details on how to register are available.


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

Event dates: 
Tuesday 9 November 2021 - 09:00 to Thursday 11 November 2021 - 17:00