https://innovateuk.blog.gov.uk/2019/01/04/working-towards-autonomous-underwater-vehicles/

Working towards autonomous underwater vehicles

It’s an exciting time for UK robotics, specifically in the area that our company, Rovco, specialises in (subsea services) as we work towards autonomous underwater vehicle systems. These technical developments will help complete the difficult and dangerous task of seabed mapping and subsea infrastructure inspection.

It has been our desire to make Artificial Intelligent systems do valuable, real work and we genuinely believe the UK is one of the best places in the world to do this.

The subsea robotics sector’s solidarity, collaboration, and wealth of extremely talented scientists allow UK businesses to bring the latest artificial intelligence and live 3D computer vision technologies underwater.

Our goal is to help to lower the cost of offshore renewable energy.

Exploiting public sector support for advanced robotics

Government-led initiatives have allowed UK businesses, such as ours, to secure funding to advance robotics technology.

These initiatives have helped to establish world class test facilities specific to the industry’s unique conditions at the Offshore Renewables Energy Catapult, the UK’s leading innovation centre for offshore renewable energy.

Collaboration is crucial

The ability to work with other like-minded engineers, R&D teams, and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) specialists has resulted in exciting project concepts, allowing us to innovate further and more efficiently.

We see collaboration as not only useful, but crucial if new technology is going to positively impact a range of sectors including nuclear, energy, and robotics.

This innovation has then brought in external investment to Rovco, growing the company and creating many high-tech robotics jobs – with our hiring continuing.

Industrial Strategy funding builds new partnerships

The Innovation Lab, part of the Robotics and AI: inspect, maintain and repair in extreme environments  funding competition, was a great opportunity for us, to build new partnerships within the UK robotics sector.

Bringing people inside and outside of robotics together

Participants represented varied academic interests and came from across industry sectors from defence to construction, nuclear and of course subsea.

Despite the diverse application domains, there are common themes, and attending resulted in a new opportunity for cross-disciplinary research to develop new advances that will benefit not just subsea robotics, but UK academia and the nuclear industry.

The research and business of robotics

These collaborations are not solely research-based, they aim to make a positive impact on the overall UK energy industries’ supply chain, involving other UK businesses to support the advancement of technology.

Creating spaces to change the world’s challenges

The Innovate UK funding for the Innovation Lab gave participants the chance to work together, bring in new collaborators and produce project scopes that exceeded expectations in their breadth of scope and ambition to change the world, working to enable real robots to do real work.

Dr Iain Wallace, Chief Technology Officer, Rovco

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