A probabilistic Model to Evaluate the Resilience of Unattended Machinery Plants in Autonomous Ships

Mohammad Mahdi Abaei, Robert Hekkenberg, Ahmad BahooToroody*, Osiris Valdez Banda, Pieter H.A.J.M. van Gelder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Over the next few years, digitalization and automation are expected to be key drivers for maritime transport innovation to be key drivers for maritime transportation innovation. This revolutionary shift in the shipping industry will heavily impact the reliability of the machinery which is intended to be operated remotely with minimum support from humans. Despite a large amount of research into autonomous navigation and control systems in maritime transportation, the evaluation of unattended engine rooms has received very little attention. For autonomous vessels to be effective during their unmanned mission, it is essential for the engine room understand its health condition and self-manage performance. The unattended machinery plant (UMP) should be resilient enough to have the ability to survive and recover from unexpected perturbations, disruptions, and operational degradations. Otherwise, the system may require unplanned maintenance or the operation will stop. Therefore, the UMP must continue its operation without human intervention and safely return the ship to port. This paper aims to develop a machine learning-based model to predict an UMP's performance and estimate how long the engine room can operate without human assistance. A Random Process Tree is used to model failures in the unattended components, while a Hierarchical Bayesian Inference is adopted to facilitate the prediction of unknown parameters in the process. A probabilistic Bayesian Network developed and evaluated the dependent relationship between active and standby components to assess the effect of redundant units in the performance of unattended machinery. The present framework will provide helpful additional information to evaluate the associate uncertainties and predict the untoward events that put the engine room at risk. The results highlight the model's ability to predict the UMP's trusted operation period and evaluate an unattended engine room's resilience. A real case study of a merchant vessel used for short sea shipping in European waters is considered to demonstrate the model's application.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108176
Number of pages14
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Reliability Estimation
  • Autonomous Shipping
  • Unattended Machinery Plant
  • Redundancy


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