NTNU Ålesund students win prestigious automation engineering award on USVs for aqua farm inspection

Better late than never!

In February 2017, bachelor students of automation engineering at NTNU Ålesund, Albert Havnegjerde, Vegard Kamsvåg og Sveinung Liavaag, won the prestigious Norwegian national award for the best bachelor thesis 2016 on automatic control given by the Norwegian Society for Automatic Control (NFA).

Jury member Rune Volden from Ulstein Power & Control hands over the award to NTNU Ålesund students Sveinung Liavaag and Albert Havnegjerde. Vegard Kamsvåg was unable to attend. Image courtesy: NFA

The students also co-wrote a paper based on their work together with SoftICE members Robin T. Bye and Ottar L. Osen (student supervisor) that was presented at IEEE Techno-Ocean 2016 and subsequently published in the proceedings:

  • Ottar L. Osen, Albert Havnegjerde, Vegard Kamsvåg, Sveinung Liavaag, and Robin T. Bye. A Low Cost USV for Aqua Farm Inspection. In Proceedings of IEEE Techno-Ocean ’16, pages 291–298, October 2016.

In their work, the students employed rapid prototyping to develop a low cost (~2000 EUR) remotely controlled unmanned surface vessel (USV) intended for inspection of aqua farms whilst incorporating a dynamic positioning (DP) system.

This work was partly financed by an internal educational project called Research-based and Innovation-driven Learning through Final Year Projects (Forskningsbasert og innovasjonsdrevet læring gjennom avsluttende oppgave – FILA).

The full paper and the conference presentation is available for download here: www.robinbye.com | Publications

Abstract: A Low Cost USV for Aqua Farm Inspection

This paper describes the rapid prototyping of a low cost remotely controlled unmanned surface vessel (USV) intended for inspection of aqua farms. There is an increased focus on inspection of ocean-based aqua farms due to three major challenges: escaping fish, sea lice, and algae. Escaping fish may bring diseases to other fish or interbreed with wild fish and damage their gene material. Sea lice is a parasite that may seriously damage the fish, lower its food quality, and if not treated, can spawn and multiply into an epidemic. Finally, algae blooms may lower oxygen levels and kill the fish. To proactively counter these challenges, aqua farm operators need to regularly inspect the fish cages for holes, the water for algae, and the fish for sea lice. Modern ocean-based aqua farms are usually constructed with two rows of sea cages separated by a gangway in the middle, often with a small operation and machinery building at one end. Staff visually inspect the cages from above and from the nearside by walking up and down the gangway. Inspection of the outer side of a cage will normally require a boat with a human inspector on board, whereas subsea inspection will normally require a human diver. Here, we propose a USV design solution for this kind of inspection that provides the aqua farm operator with a remotely controlled unmanned boat and subsea video feed. A working prototype has been designed in less than six months and successfully tested at sea.

Index Terms—USV; ROV; dynamic positioning; low cost; commercial off-the-shelf; rapid prototyping; aquaculture.

SoftICE researchers become IEEE Senior Members

SoftICE researchers Ibrahim A. Hameed and Robin T. Bye have in November 2016 and February 2017, respectively, been elevated to the grade of IEEE Senior Member.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization with more than 420,000 members worldwide in over 160 countries and is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE produces over 30% of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, publishing well over 100 peer-reviewed journals and sponsoring more than 1,600 annual conferences and meetings worldwide. In addition, IEEE is one of the leading standards-making organizations in the world through its IEEE Standards Association, with more than 900 active standards and over 500 standards under development as of 2013, including the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard and the IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networking standard.

Upon meeting certain requirements, a professional member can apply for Senior Membership, which is the highest level of recognition that a professional member can directly apply for.

Applicants for Senior Member must have at least three letters of recommendation from Senior, Fellow, or Honorary members and fulfill other rigorous requirements of education, achievement, remarkable contribution, and experience in the field. The Senior Members are a selected group, and certain IEEE officer positions are available only to Senior (and Fellow) Members. Senior Membership is also one of the requirements for those who are nominated and elevated to the grade IEEE Fellow, a distinctive honour.

References: Wikipedia and IEEE

Best Student Paper Award and Special Award at ECMS’16

During the anniversial 30th European Conference on Modelling and Simulation (ECMS) 2016 in Regensburg, Germany on 31 May — 3 June, SoftICE members Robin T. Bye, Ottar L. Osen, and Ibrahim A. Hameed presented some of our latest research reported in four scientific papers accepted in the Simulators for Virtual Prototyping and Training track, which was chaired by colleagues at NTNU Ottar L. Osen, Robin T. Bye, and Henrique Gaspar (who unfortunately could not attend this time). The papers were co-authored by the three abovementioned researchers together with colleagues Hans Georg Schaathun and Birger Skogeng Pedersen (NTNU in Ålesund), Adrian Rutle (University College of Bergen), Filippo Sanfilippo (NTNU in Trondheim), and bachelor graduates Rolf-Magnus Hjørungdal (NTNU in Ålesund) and Tom Verplaetse (Ghent University).

Best Student Paper Award

All four papers were reviewed by three reviewers and received excellent reviews. One paper,“Intelligent computer-automated crane design using an online crane prototyping tool” by Ibrahim A. Hameed, Ottar L. Osen, Robin T. Bye, Birger Skogeng Pedersen, and Hans Georg Schaathun, was nominated for the Best Paper Award but did not make it to the top.

However, another paper, “On Usage of EEG Brain Control for Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients” by Tom Verplaetse, Filippo Sanfilippo, Adrian Rutle, Ottar L. Osen, and Robin T. Bye, was nominated for both the Best Paper Award and the Best Student Paper Award, and managed to win the latter! A big congratulation to first author Tom Verplaetse (currently a master in engineering student at Ghent University), who completed the project as his bachelor thesis in automation engineering at NTNU in Ålesund spring 2015! The award was received by Robin T. Bye as Tom was busy with his exams during the conference.


Proud delegation from NTNU in Ålesund with Best Student Paper Award.


Best Student Paper Award certificate.

Special Award

Being a 30th anniversary jubilee conference, the board of the European Council of Modelling and Simulation decided to honour a number of people,including SoftICE member Robin T. Bye, with a Special Award for their contributions to ECMS over the years. Associate Professor Bye humbly accepted the award, which was presented at the conference dinner cruise on the river Donau aboard the luxurious ship Kristallkönigin. Dr. Bye received the award for his contributions as a previous board member of ECMS (2012-14), conference co-chair and programme chair of ECMS ’13 hosted by Aalesund University College (2013), and track chair activities (2012-16).


30th anniversary ECMS Special Award winners.


Special Award prize.


Proud SoftICE delegation with Special Award.

More information

More details about the work, as well as links for downloading papers, abstracts, and presentations can be found in earlier blog posts:


Some photos from the conference can be found on the website of the local organisers.

Here are some highlights we shot ourselves.

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