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Marine robotics research infrastructure network

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EUMarineRobots (Marine robotics research infrastructure network)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-08-31

Today, there is a pressing need for a sustained, persistent, and affordable presence in the oceans that will help us to understand and monitor how key issues such as climate change, ocean acidification, unsustainable fishing, pollution, waste, loss of habitats and biodiversity, shipping, security, and mining are affecting global ocean sustainability and stewardship.
Equally important is the development of systems and technologies that will allow us to explore and exploit the ocean in a sustainable manner. This is one of the reasons why marine robotics is receiving significant attention worldwide.
Europe is already a major player in marine robotics. However, marine robotics is not yet a mature field and, consequently, the research and development landscape in the EU is not integrated and suffers from very significant shortcomings with respect to standards, testing, evaluation, integration, and access to research infrastructures, which is relatively scarce and uncoordinated.
The EUMR concept builds on existing institutional and informal networks of the EU marine robotics community to develop an integrated EU marine robotics Research Infrastructure (RI), to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) agenda to effectively address the Ocean’s grand challenges.
EUMR addresses the call topic INFRAIA-02-2017: Integrating Activities for Starting Communities by proposing 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 project proceeds as planned and no major difficulties are expected for the next reporting period:
• Call 1 for both single and integrated experiments opened October 1st, 2018 and closed January 14th, 2019. The results were announced February 28, 2019. There were 26 eligible applications and 22 projects approved.
• TNA projects started during the reporting period: 4.
• TNA projects at the preparation phase: 16.
• Call 2 for both single and integrated experiments opened May 14, 2019, and closed August 15, 2019. The results will be announced in October 2019. There were 31 applications.
• Project website (https://www.eumarinerobots.eu/).
• Presence in social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and RSS-feeds, are also used as a regular means of communication.
• Very strong presence in national and international conferences, summer schools, cruises, and at-sea exercises.
• Development of specifications for the e-access framework.
• Enabling 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 are being collected and classified to be made available as open access material on the project web site.
• Exchanges of personnel between partners: 7.
• Educational activities: Breaking the Surface 2018 and 2019 and Plocan Glider School 2018 and 2019.
• Courses on marine robotics: 5.
• Joint research activities on all JRA topics.
• Upgrade of partners infra-structures in preparation for harbor and sea trials.
• Sea-trials: REP exercise 2018, Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots cruise and RV Polarstern cruise (PS119) in April/May 2019.
• Establishing the organizational structure of the project: Project Coordinator (PC) from UPORTO; Executive Management Team (EMT) composed of one representative per partner; General Assembly (GA) composed of one representative per partner and by WP leaders; Science, Industrial and Legal Advisory Committees (SILAC); and, User Selection Panel (USP).
The potential for innovation in EUMR primarily relates to improvements to, and extensions of, the capabilities of the infrastructure available within the consortium. Innovations will advance 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 for increased autonomy at sea; 3) Hybrid acoustic-optical underwater communication networks; 4) Navigation systems for under-the-ice operations; 5) Enhanced underwater Launch and Recovery System (LARS) for Hybrid ROVs; and 6)Systems for human-robot cooperation underwater.
The activities that are proposed under the TNA, JRA and NA strands of this proposal are intended to add value to existing high-value, high-cost infrastructures by making them more available to the sector and to drive forward the state-of-the-art with respect to marine robotics.
The networking activities will support the creation of a coherent EU community in marine robotics, where all maritime nations will gain access to the resources and expertise required to effectively and responsibly manage their marine estate.
The TNA program is designed to provide a coherent framework for stakeholders to gain access to both the “standard” and the “developing” capacities of the RI.
EUMR offers a rich set of JRAs that are both technologically challenging and scientifically novel. The ambition is to improve existing infrastructure and the services it can provide to stakeholders by extending the individual advanced capabilities of robotic systems and optimizing communication and coordination between them.
The potential impacts of the project are:
• World-class education and training.
• Improved access to data, knowledge and equipment.
• Supporting EU innovation and economic growth.
• Advancing marine robotic technology.
• Demonstrating capability in challenging environments.
• Integrated marine observing.
• Improving the marine environment and public perception.
Figure 1. Evolving current marine robotics landscape into a world-class dynamic network
EUMR logo