Oil Industry's Discovery of Autonomy

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The recent “Autonomy in Integrated Operations - IO 2010” conference held in the coastal city of Stavanger, Norway, highlights this rapidly growing interest. It focused on the cost and quality improvements achievable through automation and autonomy applied to Integrated Operations of offshore oil fields.

The conference brought together oil and gas companies, government authorities, technology providers, and the research community to define the need for and availability of autonomous systems today, and into the future.

One of the key presentations was by Einar Landre of Statoil, titled “Autonomy in Operational Support, Improving Situational Awareness”, highlighting how autonomous capability complements and builds upon automation. There are challenges, such as the need for humans to trust autonomous systems, and the need for the systems to interact appropriately with a human supervisor. Statoil’s paper concludes with a discussion of the usefulness of BDI agent technology as a basis for autonomous capability.

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