PhD Defence

Sondre Sanden Tørdal successfully defended his PhD thesis on March 19, 2019. The title of the thesis was: “Real-Time Motion Compensation in Ship-to-Ship Load Handling”. The title of the trial lecture was “Towards fully autonomous off-shore operation – Challenges and opportunities?” This PhD defence was the first in the research centre SFI Offshore Mechatronics and many more will follow in 2019 and 2020.

From left: Professor Jan Tommy Gravdahl (Opponent from Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU), Dr. Sondre Sanden Tørdal and Professor Svante Gunnarsson (Opponent from Division of Automatic Control, Department of Electrial Engineering, Linköping University).

Mid-Term Evaluation, Site Visit, March 14

The site visit as part of the mid-term evaluation of SFI Offshore Mechatronics took place at UiA Campus Grimstad, on March 14. The following participants were involved:

RCN representatives: Liv Jorunn Jenssen and Øyvind Veddeng Salvesen

Evaluation Panel:
Generalists: Professor Alison McKay (University of Leeds, UK, leader of evaluation panel) and Dr. Mary O’Kane (Emeritus Professor, Australia)
Experts: Professor Neil Duffie (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) and Professor Anders Robertsson (Lund University, Sweden)

10:00 – 12:00 Scientific Experts Evaluation session
1. Morten Kjeld Ebbesen (UiA, WP1 Leader)
2. Torben Ole Andersen (Aalborg, WP1 Leader)
3. Olav Egeland (NTNU, WP2 and WP4 Leader)
4. Geir Hovland (UiA, Centre and WP3 Leader)
5. Thomas Meyer (NORCE, WP5 Leader)
6. Baltasar Beferull Lozano (UiA, WP6 Leader)
7. Øyvind Haugen or Marianne Engvoll (GCE NODE, WP7)
8. Anne-Line Aagedal (UiA, Centre Management)

13:00 – 14:00 Meeting with PhD students (panel, RCN reps. and PhDs/Post.Docs)
1. Lothar Wöll (RWTH Aachen, PhD, WP5)
2. Yvonne Murray (UiA, PhD, WP3)
3. Atle Aalerud (UiA, PhD, WP3)
4. Andrej Cibicik (NTNU, PhD, WP2)
5. Luis Lopez (UiA, Post.Doc, WP6)
6. Martin Hemmer (UiA, PhD, WP5)
7. Njål Tengesdal (NTNU, PhD, WP4)
8. Sondre Nordås (UiA, PhD, WP1)
9. Søren Ketelsen (AAU, PhD, WP1)
10. Thiago Monteiro (NTNU Aalesund, PhD, WP3)

14:00 – 16:00 Generalists Evaluation session
1. Leif Haukom (GCE NODE and Centre Chairman)
2. Eivind Gimming Stensland (MacGregor and Member of Steering Board)
3. Peder Sletfjerding (NOV and main contact person for the WPs)
4. Asle Pedersen (Innoventus Sør and Centre Management)
5. Anne-Line Aagedal (UiA, Centre Management)
6. Geir Hovland (UiA, Centre Leader)
7. Michael Rygaard Hansen (UiA, Dean of Faculty)
8. Seunn Smith-Tønnesen (UiA, University Director)
9. Thomas Meyer (NORCE, WP Leader)
10. Geir Grasmo (UiA, Head of Department)
11. Sissel Eikeland (UiA, Communications Dept.)

The presentations given on March 14 are available for the centre partners, in ProjectPlace – WP0 Administration – Mid-Term Evaluation – Presentations

Below are some photos from the site visit:

WP5 Leader Thomas Meyer presents the bend-over-sheave (BOS) machine for testing both steel and fibre ropes.

The four reviewers listen to the presentation of steel and fibre ropes testing.

Andersson, Duffie and McKay in the point-cloud robotics lab.

PhD candidate Atle Aalerud giving a presentation of his work on real-time point cloud processing, obstacle detection and path planning.

PhD candidate Daniel Hagen giving a presentation of his work on a self-contained electro-hydraulic actuator.

University Director Seunn Smith-Tønnesen, Centre Chairman Leif Haukom and Centre Leader Geir Hovland after the mid-term evaluation site visit was completed.

International Collaboration

The SFI Offshore Mechatronics robotic facility and work on GPU Voxels developed in WP3 by Atle Aalerud, Joacim Dybedal, Knut Berg Kaldestad and Geir Hovland have been referenced in the following PhD thesis: “Reaktive Bewegungsplanung auf 3D-Sensordaten mittels GPU-basierter Kollisionserkennung: Untersuchung von hochgradig parallelen Algorithmen für mobile Serviceroboter” by Andreas Hermann at Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie (KIT).

The thesis is available (in German) here: and SFI WP3 is mentioned on pages 219-220, Chapter 9.3 Ausblick: “Weit vorangeschritten sind die Implementierungen des SFI Centers für Offshore Mechatronik an University of Agder (Norwegen). Hier setzen Professor Geir Hovland und sein Team GPU-Voxels ein, um die Roboter auf zukünftigen autonomen Ölbohrplattformen abzusichern (siehe Abb. 9.1).”

Andreas Hermann visited UiA on March 13-14, 2018 and gave a guest lecture on GPU Voxels, see

KIT is one of the leading robotics institutes in the world, and they organised the number one IEEE international robotics conference in 2013, see

Algorithm predicting industrial system behaviour

New analysis methods for computer systems can prevent outages in the offshore industry. This will lead to both time and money being saved.

By Sissel Eikeland

Luis Miguel López Ramos is a postdoctoral research fellow and affiliated with SFI Offshore Mechatronics (SFI) and the Wisenet Lab at the University of Agder, where he researches signal and data processing.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Luis Miguel López Ramos is affiliated with SFI Offshore Mechatronics at UiA.

The SFI which López Ramos is affiliated with is the largest research project ever led by UiA. The project period lasts from 2015 to 2023 and aims to increase cooperation between the business sector and prominent research environments.

Analysing Data
For the last two years, López Ramos has developed a data analysis method where an algorithm predicts future behaviour in a system based on previous behaviour. López Ramos’s algorithm can go through a large amount of data and calculate when an unexpected change may occur. The method can also reveal information about the location of the change point in the system.

“The information we get from predicting the behaviour of a time series of data signals may provide simple and comprehensible explanations for complex phenomena in oil and gas platforms,” López Ramos says.

Unconventional Procedure
Most of the projects in the SFI use a model-based procedure. That means trying to create a simulation model based on the laws of physics on a computer first. When making such simulation models, you often have to make some assumptions and simplifications.

“In López Ramos’s work, you do not need to make such assumptions, because a data-based procedure is used instead, ” Professor and SFI Centre Director Geir Hovland says.

By analysing large amounts of data from complex systems through the algorithm, correlations in data can be discovered that would otherwise not have been discovered by conventional procedures,” Hovland says.

The methods can be transferred to other fields
Data systems in the offshore industry are equipped with sensors which continuously monitor variables such as pressure, temperature and amount of oil flowing through the pipes. Still, it is not easy to know how the system will act at any given time.

“Oil and gas platforms have very complex systems. Technology that can discover behaviour that may lead to system errors will have a large significance for these platforms” López Ramos says.

Even though the SFI mainly helps the offshore industry with innovative mechatronics systems, López Ramos’s methods may be of great value for other fields as well.

“His methods are general and not specifically adapted to the oil and gas industry. Therefore, it is possible to transfer them to other fields. In the future, we hope that his algorithms also can be used within health services for treating patients, among other things,” Hovland says.

López Ramos will continue to work at UiA with fundamental research on mathematic modelling for two more years. He hopes that his research will lay the foundation for other types of methods for analysing data.

“I hope that in the future my methods can be of use to several sectors. In the course of this year, some of the methods should be ready for further development,” López Ramos says.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Luis Miguel López Ramos from UiA is developing an algorithm that can go through a large amount of data and calculate when and where unexpected changes may occur.

Call for Papers, MIC 4th Special Issue on Offshore Mechatronics


The research centre SFI Offshore Mechatronics is organising its 5th annual conference on June 4-5, 2019. In connection with this conference the journal MIC will organise the 4th special edition on offshore technology within the fields of Modeling, Identification and Control.

The fields of primary emphasis by MIC are:
• Modeling: General methodology of modeling including choice of structure, model reduction, numerical aspects, systems for computer aided modeling, etc.
• Identification: General methodology including system structure, identifiability, convergence, numerical aspects, systems for computer aided identification, etc.
• Control: General methodology including system specification, derivation of control strategies, analysis of system properties such as stability, sensitivity, etc.
• Applications: Demonstration, by simulations or experiments, of applications of theory within the above fields to engineering, biological, economic, ecological, social, geophysical, agricultural systems and others.

MIC counts as publication level 1 in Norway, see
All papers published in MIC are peer-reviewed. All papers will receive a permanent DOI number and a printed edition will be handed out at the conference. An example of a previous printed special edition of MIC is available here:

Submit papers to: The submission deadline is April 5, 2019. Manuscripts must be prepared using the MIC template available at

DOFI Awards at Annual Conference

Declaration of Invention (DOFI) documents submitted by centre researchers since June 2018 will be awarded at the upcoming annual conference of SFI Offshore Mechatronics. DOFIs are submitted to the respective employer (NTNU, UiA, AAU and RWTH Aachen).

NFEA Autonomy Conference 2019

SFI Offshore Mechatronics takes part in the organizing committee of the NFEA Autonomy Conference, Stavanger, March 27-28 2019, see:

The industry partner MacGregor Norway AS will present their new: Flexible Robot Arm for use in Marine Operations

NTNU Aalesund (SFI MOVE and SFI Offshore Mechatronics) will present: On-board systems? Decision- support systems is an important component for autonomous systems

NORCE Energy (SFI Offshore Mechatronics, WP3) will present: Data and uncertainty in drilling optimisation: what’s good enough?

Mid-Term Evaluation Documents Submitted

The mid-term evaluation documents were submitted to the Research Council on December 14, 2018. The final version of the documents are made available to the project partners in ProjectPlace – Documents – WP0 Administration – Mid-Term Evaluation – Final Documents. The documents are:

A) The centre self‐evaluation
B) Fact sheet for the centre
C) Host institution assessment
E) Project description for the final three‐year period and further plans

Documents D) are the individual partner evaluation reports and these are not shared with all the partners in the centre.