CORDIS - EU research results

SOUNDTILES business strategy definition

Project description

Listening for a better view of what’s underwater

Smart robots fitted with video cameras are being used to explore the ocean’s depths and conduct inspections in unpredictable conditions under the ocean’s surface. However, gathering images with a video camera in environments with poor water visibility conditions is a problem. The EU-funded SOUNDTILES project has found a solution using a new generation of acoustic cameras that are able to directly deliver 2D images of unprecedented clarity and resolution compared to other available sonar technologies. It is bringing to market new technology that can map underwater environments from this challenging sonar data in low visibility conditions. The main sectors to be targeted are oil and gas, renewable energies, fisheries, the public sector (security and military), environmental and mining.


Activities in the underwater domain are essential to the economy and to society in general, holding high expectations for future growth. Unfortunately, the danger faced during underwater works and the fact that it is an uncontrolled environment for humans, make these activities tremendously expensive and insecure. In fact, most underwater operations require to have an overview of the submerged area before even being performed, for both safety and efficiency in operations. The traditional solution to the underwater inspection challenge consists in gathering images with a video camera, normally embedded in an underwater robot. However, very frequently, these activities take place in environments with poor water visibility conditions, deeming the maps unusable and the whole approach a waste of resources. A new generation of imaging sonars, namely the two-dimensional Forward-Looking Sonars (FLS), have produced a recent breakthrough in the market. These devices, also termed acoustic cameras, are able to directly deliver 2D images of unprecedented clarity and resolution compared to other available sonar technologies. However, working with sonar data is much more challenging than processing optical images. Given the lack of solutions in the market to generate maps with this kind of data, a PhD thesis from the University of Girona (UdG) developed a mosaicing pipeline tailored to the peculiarities of FLS images, providing a pioneering way to map underwater environments in low visibility conditions. IQUA Robotics exclusively licensed the technology from the UdG on January 2019 with the aim of evolving it from TRL5 to TRL 9 and make it commercial by 2020. The main sectors that may be interested in the technology are: oil and gas; renewable energies; food (fisheries); public sector (security and military); environmental and mining, to name a few. Thus, the goal of this proposal is to assess the feasibility of the validated technology in the targeted markets.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
17003 Girona

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Este Cataluña Girona
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00