Marine Control Systems, Dynamic Positioning & the relationship to Autonomy

Event Date:
Start at 6:00 PM
April 20, 2023

An in-person event by the IMarEST and RINA’s Devon & Cornwall Joint Branch.

This event has two parts. At 18:00, there will be a visit to the new dynamic positioning simulator & refreshments; and at 1915 the lecture will begin. The talk will be on vessel control systems and the challenges to designers, operators and authorities, including:

Autonomous Vessels, the ideal
Steering Gear challenges, examples of failure
Damage, fire and flood
Personnel issues
Power Management and redundancy
Dynamic Positioning Systems, position reference systems
Network Storms
Software and Hardware Change Management


University of Plymouth
Marine Building
Drake Circus
Plymouth PL4 8AA
United Kingdom


Stephen John Nicholas MSc, CEng, CMarEng, MIMarEST, MIET, Principal Surveyor, UK Area Lead Electrical and Automation Systems, DNVStephen Nicholas joined the Sea Cadets in 1971. From 1973 -1975 he studied Navigation and Seamanship, attaining Certificates of Secondary Education in both. Stephen joined the Royal Navy in 1975 serving until 1989 as a Petty Officer, his service included the Falklands war in 1982 and was an instructor in RN Schools including Phoenix NBCD School 1985-87. From 1989 he worked on Merchant Vessels as Chief Electrical Officer, ETO, Electrical Engineer, Electronics Officer and Fleet Electrical Engineer until 2007, sometimes self-employed. In 2008 he joined DNV as Newbuild Surveyor in Germany, promoted to Senior Surveyor in 2011 and Principal Surveyor in 2016. He holds competencies in Dynamic Positioning Systems, and Control Systems and has taken part in accident investigations.