Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ROBOCADEMY (European Academy for Marine and Underwater Robotics)

The Robocademy Initial Training Network ( ) establishes a European training and research network to develop know-how and enabling technologies in underwater robotics. Skilled experts in underwater robotics are needed, among others, by oceanographic research institutes, oil and gas companies, or companies engaged in deep-sea mining for the scientific exploration and economic exploitation of our oceans and the deep-sea.
Through a close co-operation of 10 leading European research institutes, industrial companies, and SMEs specialized in (sub-sea) robotics, marine science, and marine and offshore technology, the Robocademy ITN provides first-class training and research opportunities for young researchers from all over the world. In well-defined and well-tutored PhD research projects, the 13 Robocademy ESRs (Early Stage Researchers) are given the opportunity to push the state-of-the-art in key robotic technologies for robust, reliable, and autonomous underwater robots.
A network training programme with specialized scientific training modules is set up to provide the ESRs with a sound theoretical basis in robotics and in the scientific topics that are relevant for their specific research areas. The scientific training is complemented by a soft-skills training programme, where the ESRs are taught how to manage projects, present their work to large audiences, and other skills needed by a professional in the field. On top of this, the ESRs are given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with underwater robotics through their integration in project teams and by temporary secondments to the other network members and external partners in the maritime industry and oceanographic research community.
The scientific objectives of Robocademy are to advance the state-of-the-art in research topics related to the achievement of long-term autonomy of underwater vehicles. In underwater robotics, long-term autonomy means the ability of a robotic system to stay submerged for an extended period of time (weeks up to months) and to perform complex tasks autonomously, without the help of human operators. Technical systems with these abilities are needed for tasks related to the exploration of the ocean floor and long-term environmental monitoring, but also for the operation and maintenance of offshore assets in oil and gas, shipping, or deep-sea mining.
Robocademy identified three different action lines for research targeted towards long-term autonomous underwater robots: Autonomy, Disturbance Rejection, and Perception. Autonomy is related to the decisional autonomy of the robot, including reliable navigation and self-localization. Disturbance rejection addresses the compensation of effects caused by currents and other phenomena of the dynamic ocean environment. Perception is the robot’s ability to perceive its environment using different types of sensors.
Each ESR research project is positioned in one of these action lines. A close collaboration in some of the projects and extensive secondments of ESRs within the ROBOCADEMY network ensures an exchange of research results and a coherence of work in the different research projects. The ESRs work in close contact to project teams of on-going R&D projects at their host institutions. This provides valuable hands-on experience and ensures exchange with interdisciplinary project teams. Secondments to organizations associated to the ITN further broaden the horizon and experience of the ESRs.
The scientific progress of the ESRs is monitored by a primary and a secondary PhD supervisor, who in most cases is from an academic organization within the ITN. Through a Progression Board, the academic PhD supervisors exchange information regarding the scientific progress of their students.

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