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Marine robotics research infrastructure network

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EUMarineRobots (Marine robotics research infrastructure network)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2021-11-30

Europe is already a major player in marine robotics. However, marine robotics is not yet a mature field. In fact, the research and development landscape in the EU was not integrated and suffered from very significant shortcomings with respect to standards, testing, evaluation, integration, and access to research infrastructures, which were relatively scarce and uncoordinated. This was the motivation behind the submission of EUMR a few years ago.

EUMR addressed the call topic INFRAIA-02-2017: Integrating Activities for Starting Communities to achieve the following main objective: to open-up key national and regional marine robotics research infrastructures (RIs) to all European researchers ensuring their optimal use and joint development to establish a world-class marine robotics integrated infrastructure.

The EUMR concept built on existing institutional and informal networks of the EU marine robotics community to develop an integrated EU marine robotics Research Infrastructure (RI) network and thus strengthening the European Research Area (ERA) agenda with a view to effectively address the Ocean’s grand challenges. The project has achieved its ambitious goals and all the deliverables and milestones were delivered and successfully achieved. But EUMR went even further, the EUMR network will have a lasting impact that will persist beyond the duration of the project with novel RI projects and initiatives.
The project successfully attained all objectives and there were no significant deviations from the DoA and the 3 Amendments, despite the pandemic situation. This was due in part to the quality of consortium and of the risk management plan.

Next, we list some of the highlights of the project.

Call 1 - opened October 1st, 2018, and closed January 14th, 2019. There were 26 eligible applications and 22 projects approved. Call 2 - opened May 14, 2019, and closed August 15, 2019. There were 31 applications and 28 projects approved. Call 3 – opened March 3rd, 2020, and closed June 30th, 2020. There were 11 applications and 11 projects approved.
A total of 50 TNA projects were successfully completed.
Out of the 29 installations offered by EUMR, 14 have exceeded their MQA, 13 have totally reached their MQA and only 2 were partially reached (in the cases when this happened the other installations of the same partner exceeded their MQA).

Project website (
Presence in social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and RSS-feeds.
Very strong presence in national and international conferences, summer schools, cruises, and at-sea exercises.
António Pascoal and João Borges de Sousa were the co-chairs of the IEEE/MTS San Diego Oceans Global conference, September 2021: 1 EUMR plenary session, 3 sessions focused on EUMR, and a join session on the UN Decade of the Ocean co-organized with IOC.
The “Coffee with EUMR” Webinar series organized to disseminate project results and reach the scientific, industry and end-user communities.
Educational activities: Breaking the Surface 2018-2021 and PLOCAN Glider School 2018, 2019 and 2021.
Implemented the e-access framework and enabled existing partner e-Infrastructure components for virtual access and further development within EUMR.
e-based learning: interactive modules, a book and videos of the operations carried out during the project will be made available as open access material on the project website.
Promoted multiple exchange programs among EUMR researchers (pre-pandemic).
Had tens of students addressing some of the challenges put forward by EUMR
Number of publications: > 95.
Promoted deeper interaction with other European initiatives and H2020 funded projects (EuroSea, Groom, Eurofleets+), and EuroGOOS to strengthen the Marine Robotic Communities.

Upgrade of partners infra-structures in preparation for harbor and sea trials.
Sea-trials: REP exercise 2018, 2019, 2021, Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots cruise (2018), RV Polarstern cruise (PS119) in April/May 2019, cruise opportunity in RV L’EUROPE in the Ligurian Sea off the coast of Nice 2020, EUMR cruise in RV Meteor (expedition M167) and cruise RV ALKOR in the St. Tropez Canyon, France, 2021, Celtic Explorer Cruise (2021).

The support and recommendations of the PO and reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.
The potential for innovation in EUMR came primarily from improvements to, and extensions of, the capabilities of the infrastructure available within the consortium. EUMR advanced the state of the art in: 1) Vision, acoustic, and manipulation systems for intervention AUV; 2) Systems for cooperative motion planning, navigation, and control of networked vehicles; 3) Hybrid acoustic-optical underwater communication networks; 4) Navigation systems for under-the-ice operations; 5) Enhanced underwater Launch and Recovery System for Hybrid ROVs; and 6) Systems for human-robot cooperation underwater.

The EUMR activities carried out under the TNA, JRA and NA added value to existing high-value, high-cost infrastructures by making them more available to the sector. EUMR also advanced the state of the art in six areas and innovated by accelerating the transition of new developments from the laboratory to the ocean.

The EUMR NA supported the creation of an inclusive EU networked community (with views to the world) in marine robotics, so that all maritime nations can gain access to the resources and expertise required to manage their marine areas effectively and responsibly. This reached out to researchers and top-level representatives from governments and international institutions.

The TNA program was designed to provide a coherent framework for stakeholders and researchers to gain access to both the “standard” and the “developing” capacities of the RI.
This had a global impact as one can infer from the geographic footprint of TNA access.

EUMR offered a rich set of JRAs that are both technologically challenging and scientifically novel. EUMR improved the existing infrastructure and the services provided to stakeholders by extending the individual advanced capabilities of robotic systems and optimizing communication and coordination between them.

By achieving its work plan goals, the project has attained important results with significant impact within the Marine Robotic Community by:
• Providing World-class education and training.
• Improving access to data, knowledge, and equipment.
• Supporting EU innovation and economic growth.
• Advancing marine robotic technology.
• Demonstrating capability in challenging environments.
• Facilitating Integrated marine observing.
• Improving the marine environment and public perception.
• Enhancing the articulation with other RIs, as well as with flagship projects, and representatives from third countries to address global ocean observation and exploitation challenges in a synergistic way, thus achieving what cannot be done in isolation.
Figure 1. Evolving current marine robotics landscape into a world-class dynamic network
EUMR Networking and TNAs
EUMR logo
EUMR Networking