DNV GL, a ship and offshore classification society and technical risk service providers, has acquired Marine Cybernetics, a company for third-party testing of computer control systems. The acquisition expands DNV GL’s scope of services in the offshore and maritime industries.
Marine Cybernetics was established in 2002 as a spin-off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Based in Trondheim, Norway, the company introduced the concept of Hardware-In-the Loop-Testing (HIL) to the maritime and offshore industries. HIL testing significantly reduces the risk of accidents, off-hire costs and non-productive time due to software-related issues.
“The decision to invest in Marine Cybernetics was driven by the increasing importance of software dependent systems in ensuring safe, reliable and efficient operations. We have now come to a point where we cannot only rely on testing and verifying hardware,” said Remi Eriksen, DNV GL Group Executive Vice President and COO. “We see that an increasing number of incidents, many of them severe, are caused by software- related issues. There’s a weak spot in the way the offshore and marine industries work to ensure total system quality. That weak spot is getting bigger every day, but we’re going to rectify this,” he continued, adding, “Marine Cybernetics has unique technology and processes for the third-party testing and verification of computer-based control systems. This will be a game changing platform to enhance safety and increase operational efficiency in the offshore and maritime industries.”
A requirement of software-system certification was introduced into the offshore classification rules by DNV GL some time ago. Currently, the market for the third- party testing and certification of control systems is small but has huge potential.
According to Eriksen, the short-term synergies will facilitate a global roll out of HIL testing services via DNV GL’s worldwide network, allowing Marine Cybernetics to reach even more customers across the globe. A mid-term perspective is a combination of service offerings. “As such, we strive to actively drive the further development of the concept of classification. And a longer term goal is to use the competencies and technologies in other asset heavy and software intensive industries, such as the power generation, transmission and distribution industries,” Eriksen said.
Marine Cybernetics Chief Executive Officer Stein Eggan said, “This is an important milestone for Marine Cybernetics and true recognition of our capabilities as the leading provider of third- party testing and verification of control system software for the maritime and offshore industries. Since DNV GL is the leading global ship and offshore classification society and the leading technical assurance provider to the oil and gas industry, this transaction will also strengthen our global delivery capabilities and continued technological development, benefitting both companies' customers and industry partners as well as creating interesting opportunities for our employees.”
Eggan continued, “We have enjoyed a good working relationship with DNV GL for many years and look forward to bringing our companies together to continue to build a sustainable business in the software integrity field, strongly vested in shared philosophies and core values.”
“Main shareholder Statoil Technology Invest (STI) first supported Marine Cybernetics through its LOOP product development programme in 2003 and then invested in 2005, recognizing the importance of being able to independently test critical control system software on vessels and rigs. We are pleased to see that MC has found a good home in DNV GL,” said Richard Erskine, Managing Director of STI.
Besides Statoil Technology Invest and the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Group, the shares of Marine Cybernetics were held by Marine Cybernetics employees and management as well as the former founders, who are now completely out of the company . To reflect its cross-industry relevance and strategic importance to DNV GL, Marine Cybernetics will become an independent business unit within the DNV GL Group.