Presentation of Innovative robotic solutions for the preservation of the Adriatic Sea

The Breaking the Surface workshop, held from September 26th to October 3rd in Biograd na Moru

The Breaking the Surface workshop, held from September 26th to October 3rd in Biograd na Moru, presented the strategic project InnovaMare and interesting new robotic and sensory solutions for the control and monitoring of Adriatic Sea pollution, created as a result of cooperation between project partners. Innovative robots were presented at the workshop by partners from the Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE), the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FEC) of the University of Zagreb and the National Research Council (CNR) ISMAR from Italy.

Specifically, there are two robots – Korkyra, which is intended for monitoring fish farms and SWAMP for monitoring environmental parameters in wetlands – and a system of smart buoys that will monitor the quality of the sea.

Nikola Mišković from FEC described in more detail the technical solutions that is created in their Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies (LAPOST). “A heterogeneous marine robotic system consisting of a modular autonomous Korkyra catamaran developed at FEC and commercially available Blueye PRO dives aims to solve the problems of monitoring fish nets and cages in fish farms. The catamaran is able to perform autonomous inspection missions important for aquaculture, to independently (visually) inspects the nets and determines whether there is fouling and damage. It also monitors the seabed under the cage by monitoring the level of sedimented fish food residues and surrounding water so that algae blooms can respond in a timely manner. This frees divers from performing long-term, monotonous, and sometimes even dangerous work “, said Mišković, and referred to the multifunctional smart buoys for the detection and monitoring of pollution and monitoring the state of the sea and water quality.

“The anchored buoy collects, processes and stores measurements of various environmental indicators using built-in sensors, while algorithms for optimizing energy consumption as well as renewable energy sources provide it with long-term autonomy. Buoy also uses acoustic communication to use sensor units placed on the seabed, such as those for detecting oil and oil, measuring water turbidity and the concentration of chlorophyll, green algae and organic matter dissolved in water. The goal is, among other things, to make this information publicly available for real-time monitoring via an intuitive website, which suggests its application in tourism-oriented areas, “explained Mišković.

The third robotic ecology fighter called SWAMP comes from the Italian CNR, and yet it is a modular catamaran that can sail in just a few inches of water making it ideal for monitoring environmental parameters in extremely shallow waters characteristic of wetlands.

Massimo Caccia of CNR ISMAR said they had developed two prototype robots to study inland waters and wetlands, which she said are the foundation of social and economic sustainability. “Such an environment requires special robotic solutions with specific sensors. Today, autonomous surveillance systems are becoming the key to quality data collection, which has not been possible so far due to inadequate tools, “said De Pascalis.

Mateo Ivanac, head of the InnovaMare Strategic Project, pointed out that the pollution of the Adriatic Sea ecosystem is a great challenge. “Therefore, it is urgent to react by joint cooperation between science and the private sector, due to the possible consequences. Not only in terms of the environment, but also in terms of economy in sectors like fisheries, tourism, aquaculture and maritime affairs. Innovamare as an innovation HUB enables stakeholders to gain knowledge and resources at the right time and in the right place in order to bring their ideas and innovations to the market, as soon as possible “, said Ivanac.

InnovaMare project is designed to develop and establish a model of innovation ecosystem in the field of underwater robotics and sensors for the purposes of monitoring, control and monitoring of pollution in the Adriatic Sea. It is worth 5.6 million euros, and its partner consortium consists of 14 partners from Croatia and Italy. One of the main challenges of the project is through a multidisciplinary approach and cooperation between the public and private sectors, to encourage the development of new tools, processes and technologies and contribute to increasing competitiveness in the Blue Economy. The main result of the project implementation will be the establishment of DIH (Digital Innovation HUB) for underwater robotics and sensors and Living Lab in the Adriatic Sea. Digital innovation HUB – DIH MAiROS – the main platform for the development of solutions for monitoring and forecasting pollution of the Adriatic Sea will enable the connection of all stakeholders.