These are the details for the profile H2020 – SME Instrument: marine drone supporting rescue and towing operations for distressed ships.
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An Italian SME, specialized in manufacturing of towing and mooring equipment for both ships and mega yachts, has developed an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle.
The technology is electronically radio controlled and auxiliary in marine towing operations. The company seeks partners (maritime ship/tug manager and salvage operator) to further develop its vehicle and submit a proposal under H2020 SME Inst-08-2016-2017. Call deadline: 6th September 2017
A first prototype (weight: 25 kg; length: 1 metre with 1-2 hours autonomy) has already been developed by an Italian SME aiming at managing the high risk operation of linking the emergency towing system of distressed ships to towing vessels.
Afterwards the prototype has been improved by 3 different hulls.
Starting from the development of cooperative robotic technologies able to (semi-)automatically execute the maneuver of recovering the towing system, the technology allows to optimize the operations to safeguard the environment, typically preventing oil pollution at sea. The technology performances have been already tested and evaluated also taking into consideration market price of different technological solutions with different costs.
The system is based on a semi-autonomous vehicle and a robotized pick-up emergency buoy operated by a tugboat: the vehicle can recover the emergency buoy, connected to the distressed ship through a live-line, without requiring the presence of human beings on small vessels at sea and also enabling to keep a safe range from the ungoverned ship, thus minimising risks for human lives. The trade-off between benefits and costs given by the introduction of robotized devices on the two sides of the recovery system will be investigated in view of a further market exploitation.
Increasing the safety and reliability of salvage operations of distressed ships, the system can contribute to environmental safeguard by supporting prevention of pollution at sea, in particular oil pollution.
The company will develop the research on maritime operation, and in order to realize the industrial prototype it is looking for one partner skilled in marine drone manufacturing (to realize electronics components), and a second partner able to test the product to facilitate its entry into the market (a final user as a salvage company, a tug company or a ship-owner).
Following what the related studies have shown, the expected growth potential of the developed solution can be summarized as follows: turnover + 100%, employment + 5 persons, market seize 4%, IP management trade mark and design protection (no patent) , sales +2 K€ per year, return on investment 20%.
The company is looking for research cooperation agreement to submit a SME instrument project proposal.
The call of interest is the following: SMEInst-08-2016-2017 - Supporting SMEs efforts for the development - deployment and market replication of innovative solutions for blue growth.
The system makes possible the rescue ship to ship, an operation which is almost impossible by means of traditional tools (line throwing gun).
In addition, it allows to increase the safety and reliability of salvage operations of distressed ships and can contribute to environmental safeguard by supporting prevention of pollution at sea, particularly oil pollution.
Up to now, in emergency towing operations, the first connection between the vessel candidate to save the distressed ship and the distressed ship itself are carried out by employing crew members on rescue boats and/or line throwing gun. The natural mean to tow a distressed ship is a tug, possibly an ocean tug, but many times there is no tag is available on the scenario when the casualty occurs. Often the only available mean is another ship and the most dangerous manoeuvre is to approach at short distance: the possibility to keep bigger distance (500 metres), as the developed marine drone allows to do, becomes a key factor opening new markets.
At the moment the developed solution is the first AUV (Autonomous Surface Vehicle) allowing this kind of operations.
The company is looking for two partners in order to develop the vehicle and use it on a fleet.
More specifically: one partner should be skilled in marine drone manufacturing (to realize electronics components), and the second partner should be able to test the product to facilitate its entry into the market (a final user as a salvage company, a tug company or a ship-owner).