BUGWRIGHT2 Senior Advisory Group Meeting

On 12 April, the World Maritime University (WMU) - Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (GOI) hosted the first BUGWRIGHT2 Senior Advisory Group Meeting, “Overcoming Regulatory Barriers For Service Robotics in an Ocean Industry Context”. The event facilitated discussions from international, national and regional experts on remote inspection technology, remote survey, robotics and autonomous systems. The role of the Senior Advisory Group is to advise the project team on the challenges and opportunities that arise from the deployment of such service robotics and autonomous systems in the maritime and ocean domain. 

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, delivered the welcoming address acknowledging the generous support from the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme to support this important initiative. She also underlined the importance of high-level stakeholder platforms, such as the Advisory Group, in order to facilitate constructive discussions for the creation of a level-playing-field for all those who play a part in moving forward the technology agenda.

The Principal Investigators of the project, Professor Ronan Long, GOI Director, and Dr. Tafsir Johannson, GOI Associate Research Officer, highlighted significant milestones of the project. This included the completion of the first report deliverable that provides important insights into state-of-the-art international arrangements, national comparative and European Union analysis reports; the establishment of strong working relationships with implementation partners including the International Maritime Organization, Georgia Tech-Lorraine (French Campus), the Liberian Registry, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), and selected classification society members including RINA, China Classification Society, Bureau Veritas, Lloyds Register, and DNV. It also included the delivery of technical workshops and the completion of scholarly publications and outreach advocacy events at several international meetings. 

Professor Ceric Pradalier of Georgia Tech Lorraine, who also serves in the capacity of BUGWRIGHT2 Project Coordinator, provided an overview of the aims and objectives followed by a brief status update on the project. The three principal WMU researchers for BUGWRIGHT2, Dr. Johansson, Dr. Aspasia Pastra, and Dr. Ríán Derrig,  led sessions guided by questions on topical issues, including the importance of harmonisation through international guidance, trustworthy system and sustainability. Discussions were moderated by Mr. Thomas Klenum, Executive Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs of the Liberian Registry, Mr. Sean Pribyl, Senior Counsel for Holland & Knight LLP, and Mrs. Vera Alexandropoulou, Vice President of the Thalassa Foundation.  

President Doumbia-Henry and Professor Long thanked the members of the Senior Advisory Group for their unconditional and dedicated support to the research team, recognizing the important role they play individually and jointly in overcoming regulatory barriers for robotics during this decade of Ocean Science.

Information about the meeting and members of the Senior Advisory Group can be found here: Programme and Biographies booklet for the SAG meeting.



Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 initiative, BUGWRIGHT2 consists of a large consortium bringing together not only the technological knowledge from academia but the complete value chain of the inspection robotic market. WMU is proud to be a consortium partner to the BUGWRIGHT2 umbrella initiative and has committed to delivering a series of tasks that will help overcome techno-regulatory barriers for service robotics used by the ocean industry. The principal work of the GOI is to provide insight to the complex legal framework concerning hull cleaning, inspection and maintenance using Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), small Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) coupled with teams of magnetic-wheeled crawlers.

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