A Swedish Maritime Robotics Center (SMaRC) has been established to research and develop the underwater systems of tomorrow. Kockums and Dynamics, together with key partners from the academic, industrial and public sector, will work together to advance technology within the business area of underwater systems. The benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration are many.
“The main objective for our research is to reduce the need for human intervention while growing our competency and technical know-how,” says Dr. Roger Berg, Director of Technology Management at Kockums. Reduced human intervention is one major challenge coupled with the robots persistence and ability to navigate in unknown waters. Traveling beneath the surface of polar ice is one example of a task that SMaRC can take on. “There are very few points of reference in such milieus. This makes navigation tricky”, Dr. Berg explains. Technological advances are crucial for reaching further below the surface. Such advances also have societal benefits.
With pressing challenges such as climate change and maritime pollution, major disruptive processes threaten our oceans in the upcoming twenty years. Smart underwater systems will allow us to better track developments that have previously been hard to follow. SMaRC’s research will focus on the industrial and societal gains of maritime presence from three perspectives. The first is related to the environment and includes assessing the state of the oceans. The second has to do with safeguarding society by improving our knowledge of what is happening in our oceans. The third perspective looks at the oceans from a resource standpoint - assessing their production capacity in relation to food, energy and raw materials.
Saab will contribute with personnel and funding to the project. Technology developed by the company will also be shared. Bo Rydell, Business Development Manager at Dynamics, underlines that there are important synergies for Saab to be made from this kind of research project, both technical and social. “Components that are developed within this project could be of great use in other business areas of the company. The project also opens up alternative career paths within Saab for those who want to become experts in their field instead of executives”. Both Rydell and Berg highlight that SMaRC can be the starting point for something bigger, a national underwater research program in Sweden. This has long been on the agenda and would certainly spark additional interest in the field.