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Keelcrab the Drone for an automated hull cleaning: fast & essential

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Keelcrab (Keelcrab the Drone for an automated hull cleaning: fast & essential)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2019-11-30

Sail and motorboats need to clean their keels in order to reduce fuel consumption and improve performances. It is a global market that accounts 6,9 Million leisure boats in the range 10 to 24 m. Needs of boat cleaning increase with proliferation of algae due to: i) climate change and warmer waters and ii) new regulation that limits the use of toxic paints on keels. Keelcrab is a robot that cleans the keels underwater; it is governed via a remote control. It is a disruptive solution versus actual practices of beaching or cleaning with divers: expensive and unsafe.
A large scale adoption of Keelcrab will change the paradigm of keel cleaning, reducing fuel consumptions and CO2 emissions.
Overall objectives of the feasibility study are rationalizing the great potential of the business in a complete framework, to define detailed objectives of revenues and margins and to determine financial needs, over a 5 years period.
The market research focused on selecting the most interesting countries in the world, considering population, GNP, coasts, boats and finally market size. Numbers give evidence of US as the dominant market, accounting roughly the 50% of global market; other interesting countries are Canada, China European Nordic countries. A diversification in the pool cleaning market will help to reach critical mass.
We clearly defined our business model: in the first phase we sell Keelcrab to professionals (Keelcrab Points) who use the robot to clean the keels of their clients; in a second phase we will sell to boatowners directly on-line or via a global network of dealers.
R&D and engineering activities allowed to improve the performances of the robot, in terms of adherence to the keel; a new version, tested in November 2019, will be in production in January 2.020. The future, to be developed in 2020- 2022 is automation that allows self movement, without human drive.
IPR strategy has been defined and two requests for patents will be submitted in 1H 2020.
A strong improvement of application will take place when we will launch a new Keelcrab, completely automated. This needs additional efforts in engineering, exploitation and dissemination that will take two more years. The automated Keelcrab will address the yachts and ships markets, enlarging the great market potential.