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INESC Porto And The Portuguese Navy Join Forces To Develop Maritime Robotics

15 June 2011 INESC PORTO

In their first large scale partnership project, INESC Porto and the Portuguese Navy will develop autonomous marine systems to support search and rescue missions in the event of a disaster. These robotic systems will be partly autonomous, making them capable of finding human survivors in disasters and thus helping relieve rescue teams of the more difficult and dangerous tasks. This joint activity between INESC Porto and the Portuguese Navy is part of the maritime component of the European project ICARUS, and the first robotic maritime vehicles should be completed by 2013.

The Fair of the Sea, which runs from 16th to 19th June at the EXPONOR (in Matosinhos), was chosen for the signing of the partnership agreement between INESC Porto (the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto) and the Naval Research Centre for the Portuguese Navy. This partnership between the two institutions aims to join synergies in order to become leaders in the maritime economy and it has already had results. INESC Porto has been elected as the leader of the maritime group in the European project, ICARUS. The project’s budget is 17 million Euros and it will bring together 23 European partners.

As part of Project ICARUS, INESC Porto and the Portuguese Navy will strengthen competencies to develop a range of autonomous search and rescue maritime systems. These systems will be equipped with sensors to detect humans and will be able to communicate with the rescue teams. These systems will have a high level of autonomy in order to be able to meet the requirements of various complex scenarios. Ideally they will be able to take on the role of automatic vehicles to aid first responders in disasters. These autonomous robotic vehicles will help in search missions, supporting the rescue teams and taking on the most difficult and dangerous tasks, such as finding survivors and helping to save human lives. The work will begin in January 2012 and the first robotic maritime tools developed as part of ICARUS should be ready by 2013. In addition to participating in this European project, the Naval Research Centre for the Portuguese Navy and INESC Porto have collaborated in many areas that range from the development of autonomous sailboats to maritime protection systems.

In addition to signing the partnership agreement with the Navy, INESC Porto, a member of the Sea Economy Cluster, OCEANO XXI, will be at the Fair of the Sea to exhibit their portfolio of technology for the maritime economy and present the Lajeado project (on underwater robotics) that was recently exported to Brazil.

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