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High Expectations for SFI-Status

HUGIN AUV. Photo by K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research, UiB

16 leading industry, research and public actors have joined forces in the Centre for Deep Sea Innovation to step-change autonomous exploration. The main application is towards marine minerals, but the potential is far greater.

The Centre’s main goal is to increase deep sea exploration efficiency of marine minerals with a factor of 10 and reduce the associated CO2 footprint by a similar factor. The Centre has applied for status as Centre for Research based innovation (SFI), and the partners have high expectations.

Collaborative Autonomy

Despite the name, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV’s) are not autonomous. They are typically pre-programmed and operate in conjunction with nearby ship.

The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) is the leading research environment in Norway within autonomy, with more than 20 years of AUV experience including key contributions in developing the HUGIN AUV.

Torstein Olsmo Sæbø is Principal Scientist at FFI and is heading a key work package in the Centre within autonomy.

- Developing true autonomy and collaborative underwater vehicles will represent a paradigm shift with huge possibilities. Status as SFI will give the Centre for Deep Sea Innovation a strong collaboration platform to develop the next generation of autonomous underwater technology, says Sæbø.

Partners Complimenting Each Other

The Centre for Deep Sea Innovation consist of world leading partners from across the entire value chain. DeepOcean is a subsea service provider which sees new possibilities.

– We are dedicated to actively contribute towards the development of improved surface and underwater autonomous vehicles for a wide range of applications.

Participating in this Centre will strengthen our competence and ability to conduct unmanned and autonomous operations in multiple existing and emerging markets, says Andries Ferla Group Technology Manager DeepOcean.

Aanderaa, a Xylem company, is another world-leading company, which sees great possibilities.

– We have already delivered sensors and instruments to explore marine minerals and support deep sea innovation. The proposed Centre will be important in our company’s R&D strategy within marine minerals as well as our existing business segments, says Inger M. Graves O&C Product Manager Lead, Aanderaa/Xylem.

A key part of the Centre is bridging leading national industry and research groups with international expertise. The plan is annually joint offshore test and pilot cruises to learn from each other and test new technology and methodology.

Enabler for Green Transition

The transition to renewable energy and electric transportation requires access to new mineral resources. The interest for marine minerals is increasing as the legislation is moving forwards and exploration activity is showing promising results.

A key challenge to Norway’s future success, highlighted in the Norwegian Ocean Strategy, is our ability to develop existing and create new ocean industries, while balancing the need for increased productivity with sustainable utilisation and protection of the marine resources.

Multiple Applications

The Centre for Deep Sea Innovation will focus on developing truly autonomous underwater vehicles, including key associated topics such as sensors, communication and advanced data analysis supporting collaborative autonomy in underwater operations.

These technologies have a wide range of application areas, where we will focus on marine mineral mapping, infrastructure integrity inspections and environmental monitoring.

An SFI-status will provide the Centre with the long-term funding required to realize the huge potential in the deep oceans. Norway has a unique opportunity to advance existing-, and developing new ocean industries.

Join our webinar 11 June to learn more about the possibilities within marine minerals and the plan for the Centre for Deep Sea Innovation (in Norwegian only).

Read our chronicle in E24: Marine Minerals – Gold or Gravel (in Norwegian only).

Contact Information

Jon O. Hellevang

R&D Manager

Jon O. Hellevang

SFI Programme

An SFI is a research centre supported by the Research Council of Norway.

The overall objective is to enhance the ability of the business sector to innovate and create value through a greater focus on long-term research.

Centre for Deep Sea Innovation has applied for SFI-status. 12 million NOK is sought annually over an eight-year programme.

This will in case realise a total budget of more than 300 million NOK for the Centre, including the contribution from all partners.

The announcement of selected new SFI-centres is expected in June 2020.

Learn more about SFI.