2023 Jun/13

EU-CONEXUS SETU students join Spanish counterparts in sea-based test missions

A team of engineering, computing, and science students from the SETU’s Applied Robotics Lab and IMEDMAR UCV Spain, have successfully carried out two days of trial missions in Calpe, on the Mediterranean coast.

During the two days of trials in IMEDMAR Calpe Spain, the students tested the autonomous deployment of payloads for marine based environment research and protection. Example payloads include sensors pods to measure temperature and pH levels.

They successfully trialled the Unmanned Surface Vessel USV-LIR and an associated submersible in sea-based missions off the coast. The USV-LIR is a drone boat, designed, built and tested over the last two years by an interdisciplinary team of students, studying in SETU, on courses from the School of Science and Computing and School of Engineering.

Professors Jose Tena and Rafael Garcia and the team from IMEDMAR, UCV are carrying out research for the protection and restoration of Pinna nonbilis populations, a large species of Mediterranean clam. The research is being carried out as a response to the catastrophic pandemic started in 2016, which caused a mortality of around 99% of the population in Spain. The two professors are leading experts in endangered marine species in the Mediterranean area. The work is being carried out with the contribution of the LIFE programme, the European Union’s Financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects.

In the framework of the Research for society project of EU-CONEXUS, Prof. Tena and Prof. Garcia have collaborated with SETU Lecturer Jason Berry under the SETU Research Connexions support scheme and the student lead, USV LIR project group in SETU, and the Applied Robotics Lab, to investigate applications and the suitability of marine robotics for autonomous based missions.

According to Mr Berry, lead engineer in SETU’s Applied Robotics Lab, without support, this learning would not be possible. Special thanks go to SETU Schools of Engineering, Science and Computing, SETU Research Connexions support scheme, EU-CONEXUS, STREAM, CALMAST and SETU Ed Services, he said.

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