Major investment in underwater technology at KTH

Researchers at KTH has received a grant of 100 million SEK to develop the next generation of underwater robots. The money goes to the Research Center of the Swedish Maritime Robotics Center (SMaRC), a national, interdisciplinary focal point for research and development of maritime robots for mariculture, field monitoring and environmental measurements.

Translated from original article in Swedish at KTH:

Today's underwater robots have a limited range and endurance, which means that they usually require continuous assistance of, for example, divers and ships. This is expensive and you can not use the robots' potential. The goal of SMaRC is to develop the next generation of robots, which are both intelligent, has a longer range and endurance, and that also should be cheaper.

- Underwater robots have the potential to revolutionize research on our oceans and polar regions in the same way as satellites made in the 70s. This, by studying entirely undiscovered areas where humans never have been before, says Ivan Stenius, center director and lecturer at KTH.

The research challenges are found mainly in the work to increase the robot's overall system performance, and several engineering disciplines must cooperate to provide a holistic improvement.  The researchers have identified four key areas which require more research; autonomy, endurance, perception and communication (in the water).

- Sweden already has a strong position in the field of underwater technologies. Research in SMaRC ensure that we maintain our position and are in the forefront of the transition to unmanned systems. It will provide Swedish industry with excellent opportunities to expand in existing and new markets, says Ivan Stenius.

SMaRC is funded by the Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF). In addition to KTH, researchers from Stockholm and Gothenburg University are part of SMaRC. Industrial partners are SAAB, MMT Sweden, FMV and FOI.