Public Defense in Mechanical Engineering, M.Sc. Meriam Chaal

Public Defense from School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering
A futuristic fleet of autonomous ships.
A futuristic fleet of autonomous ships.

Advancing Safety in Autonomous Shipping Through Modern Hazard Analysis Methods: A System-Theoretic Approach

The maritime industry is evolving toward autonomous shipping, reducing human involvement for enhanced safety and efficiency. However, this transition might introduce new safety challenges. Consequently, this thesis strives to advance the field of autonomous ship safety by proposing suitable risk assessment methods to identify and address emerging challenges.
In this thesis, the evolution of the literature on autonomous ship safety is initially analysed. This analysis yields insights into areas requiring further research and identifies relevant risk assessment methods applicable to autonomous ships. A key focus is on the System Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) method, which proves effective in modelling complex systems, understanding their interactions, and analysing their potential hazards. STPA is further augmented with Bayesian Networks, a probabilistic risk modelling tool, to enable its integration into the risk assessment process employed within the maritime industry.
Additionally, this thesis outlines the hierarchical control structures of both the maritime operational system and the autonomous ship navigation system. This exploration reveals the necessity of clarifying key safety responsibilities among various maritime stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition towards autonomy. Furthermore, it was concluded that human adaptive capabilities will require careful replication if conventional navigation equipment is combined with autonomous systems.
In summary, this doctoral thesis serves as a technical compass guiding the maritime industry towards enhanced safety in the age of autonomous shipping. Therefore, this research seeks to catalyse a shift towards advanced system-theoretic risk assessment practices in the maritime industry, acknowledging the evolving regulatory landscape and the complexity of the systems under development.

Doctoral Student: Meriam Chaal

Opponent: Gerasimos Theotokatos, Professor (Dr.) of Safety of Marine Systems, University of Strathclyde

Custos: Assistant Professor Osiris Valdez Banda, Aalto University School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering

The public defense will be organized on campus in Lecture Hall 216, Otakaari 4.

Thesis is publicly displayed 10 days prior to the defense in the publication archive Aaltodoc of Aalto University. 

Contact information of the doctoral student: Meriam Chaal, [email protected], +358504320739

Doctoral theses in the School of Engineering: 

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