Norway opens research lab for underwater robotics
Norwegian minister of trade and industry Trond Giske cuts an underwater ribbon using Minerva, one of the university’s remote-controlled minisubs.Credit: NTNU
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim has opened an underwater robotics laboratory that will enable researchers across multiple disciplines to collaborate on projects for environmental monitoring of the ocean, marine research, and oil and gas industry engineering applications.
The Applied Underwater Robotics Laboratory (AUR Lab), based at the NTNU’s Trondheim Biological Station, will provide workspace for 30 university experts in cybernetics, control engineering, marine biology, marine archaeology, electrical engineering, and telecommunications. They will use underwater technology to produce scientific results that would be difficult to achieve using artificial or simulated oceanic test environments.
AUR Lab has two remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) rated to operate at 600m and 1,300m respectively, an underwater hydroacoustic transponder network and various sensor packages. The facility will work with the NTNU’s research vessel Gunnerus, along with a new autonomous underwater vehicle.
The lab is equipped with a range of standard IT and sensor tools and systems, said Kari Melby, NTNU pro-rector for research: “The project teams use standard commercial off-the-shelf products, such as National Instruments’ Labview platform, for the implementation of the new control systems and software algorithms.”
One of the first project groups will work with advanced optics sensors for underwater hyperspectral imaging to monitor and map sea surface, water column, and the sea bed levels.
Another team will develop new dynamic positioning and tracing systems for ROVs. The lab will also be involved in the NTNU’s deep-water archaeology projects, using ROVs for shipwreck excavation.
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