The IT University is coordinating new European expert training in underwater robots
In the next four years, professor at the IT University, Andrzej Wasowski, will be leading a new expert training program focusing on the development of /developing underwater robots in order to make them reliable so that we can use them for critical tasks like fighting pollution. The program is funded by an EU grant of 30 mio. DKK.
Robots can operate in places where human presence can be both costly and dangerous. They create fantastic opportunities to expand the use of the enormous areas under the sea surface, which covers more than 70% of the earth, for example to produce food at the bottom of the ocean, to inspect and maintain vessels and platforms and to fight offshore oil spills or pollution.
However, if the potential of using underwater robots for critical tasks like an offshore oil spill should be explored, it requires that robots are reliable so that we can be certain they will not do more harm than good. Hence, the 15 experts, who will be trained on the new four-year training program REMARO, will focus on developing robots that operate on their own and handle their missions safely and efficiently. The prestigious project REMARO is financed by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie program funded by European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework for Research and Innovation.
- A major challenge for European industry today is the reliability of AI-based systems, but we currently lack an education on this topic in Europe. The REMARO project is an innovative training program at doctoral level, in which universities and industries from European countries with significant marine sectors will collaborate closely, says Andrzej Wasowski, Professor at the IT-University in Copenhagen and Project coordinator of the REMARO project.
Robots must be good decision makers
Unlike the robots used in industry productions or for cleaning homes, underwater robots must be able to tackle many complex challenges autonomously. Not only do underwater currents and unexpected vegetation and marine life create difficulties for the robots. Reduced vision and very restricted possibilities to communicate are also technological barriers. Therefore, robots will have to manage on their own without human support. By developing technology based on machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence), Andrzej Wasowski aims to create the foundation for robots that makes the right decisions, for example to get back to the base to charge before they run out of power.
- Remotely controlling a robot under deep water is just as difficult as controlling a robot on the moon. Our PhD students will ensure that these robots can reach next levels of independence using artificial intelligence so the users can benefit from increased efficiency and safety. We will develop new methods for vision, motion, and control functions?, as well as test and verify them for safety, says Andrzej Wasowski who looks forward to meeting a big need for the underwater robots: - The market for underwater robots is projected to reach 5.7 billion EUR already by 2023. Europe has a large marine economy, spanning many expanding sectors such as marine energy (offshore wind, ocean energy), marine bio-industry (food, pharma, cosmetics and energy produced from fish, algae, and other macro- and micro-organisms), water desalination (for drinkable water), non-fossil mining, underwater construction. In much of the blue economy, work happens in areas inaccessible or outright hostile to humans. Robots able to operate underwater are also needed for marine scientists: biologists, climatologists, and geologists.
REMARO runs from 01/12/2020 to 30/11/2024. The IT University is the coordinator of the project that counts 13 academic and industry partners.
Facts on REMARO: Reliable AI for Marine Robotics
• REMARO webpage: http://www.remaro.eu
• Twitter: @ItnRemaro
• Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network funded by European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Grant Agreement No. 956200
• 15 PhD-students will be employed in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal from spring 2021. Information on the open PhD positions will be announced on http://www.remaro.eu in October 2020.
• Project partners: IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Bremen (Germany), German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (Germany), RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), University of Oslo (Norway), University of Porto (Portugal), EIVA (Denmark), ROSEN (Germany), Ocean Scan (Portugal), Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (Portugal), DNV GL (Norway), Kraken Robotik (Germany)