Robust, Effective and Adaptable ship DesIgns for uNcErtain tranSition pathS (READINESS)


Realising the vision of the “Water as a blue pathway”-call raises tremendous challenges including guaranteeing low environmental impact and safety. With ships designed to trade at least thirty years, it is inevitable that, during their operational life, multiple modifications will have to be performed. Considering the call, especially for: (i) embedding up-to-date environmental-friendly energy technologies, and (ii) replacing obsolete or broken on-board systems by sophisticated automation systems and information, communication, and sensor technology. Incorporating this magnitude of change in the design has been poorly researched. The goal of this research therefore is to support the integrated ship and system design by enhancing the readiness of ships to undergo future modifications irrespective of the energy and automation transition paths.
To handle the automation transition the first pillar of READINESS will be the design of scalable, modular and fault tolerant control architectures with emphasis on autonomous navigation systems, considering the ship as a large network of interconnected subsystems. To handle the energy transition, the second research pillar will be the creation of optimisation algorithms for ship topology that make a trade-off between life cycle costs and the uncertain magnitude of ship modifications. The third pillar will be the robust design of routing methods for pipes, ducts and cables for handling efficiently any transition given the networked ship structure.
The impact of READINESS is expected to be multiplex. The proposed robust and versatile ship and system design will increase the economic lifetime of ships built in the next decade while reducing the risk of the investments. The prospective research results will significantly contribute to the seamless transition from ships nowadays to autonomous ships with zero emissions. READINESS enables the transfer of knowledge between two pioneering countries in shipping, the Netherlands and Norway, and between world-known Dutch companies in ship design, production and operations.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. ir. J.F.J. Pruijn

Affiliated with

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Werktuigbouwkunde, Maritieme Techniek & Technische Materiaalwetenschappen (3mE), Maritieme en Transport Technologie


06/04/2020 to 05/04/2024