Self-controlled – Oliver Schulz is behind the software for autonomous robots to prevent oil and gas spills
The MSc was structured so students gained knowledge of every aspect of automated vehicles, from electronics to control systems. This overview meant Oliver was in demand in the job market
A crack in an oil or gas pipeline can have catastrophic consequences for the environment and humankind. Preventing spills or leaks also saves money, according to WMG graduate Oliver Schulz. That is why the 27-year-old is currently developing software for special diving robots. The vision is these devices will be capable of inspecting miles of underwater fuel transport systems. They could then alert companies to any damage.
“Manually operated robots are expensive and need an expert to operate them,” explains Oliver who completed the MSc in Smart, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (SCAV). “It’s also time-consuming for them to carry out checks on pipelines. So we’re investigating how to bring autonomous alternatives to the market. The aim is to use them all over the world.”
His current job combines all his passions which means there is never a chance to get bored. “What interests me is putting something together, testing it and also improvising.”
The WMG course stood out for him because it did not focus on just one area. Instead, the MSc was structured so students gained knowledge of every aspect of automated vehicles, from electronics to control systems. This overview meant Oliver was in demand in the job market. Not only does he need to know how to create the algorithms for his robots, but also about the batteries powering them. Having the technical skills is crucial. However, the ability to manage time is also necessary to achieve a goal faster and more efficiently. This was one of the major challenges of a one-year master’s programme for Oliver and his fellow students.
“In the world of work you have to have a long-term view and manage your time effectively.”
Learning how to cope under pressure and meet deadlines has stood him in good stead. In his current job, Oliver experienced how challenging it can be to go the extra mile to pursue his goal of system integration, but he thrived. His varied role does come with responsibilities including handling emergencies, such as robots losing communication signals. Fortunately, all robots have returned safely to port so far. For him, the support of a large company makes his job even more enjoyable. And being part of a committed and dynamic team.