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Subsea autonomous systems: next generation technologies

Registration is closed
Funding details
Registration opens
14 Jan 2020, 00:00
Registration closes
12 Feb 2020, 12:00
12 Feb 2020, 12:00
Project costs £1.5m to £3m: up to 70% of costs can be covered depending on business size.
Innovate UK

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Robots for a Safer World challenge, through Innovate UK, (as part of UK Research and Innovation), is collaborating with the Ministry of Defence and The Royal Navy, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, BP, and the Oil & Gas Authority. Together they will invest up to £6 million, from a cross government and industry joint fund, in collaborative business led projects.

Participants are sought to develop collaborative projects in next generation autonomous subsea systems, which improve levels of autonomy, sensor miniaturisation, mission planning, monitoring, communications, navigation, data management and operations together with improved endurance in the water column up to 3,000 metres deep.

The challenge is to develop next generation subsea autonomous system technologies, which are modular in design with common interfaces and open architectures. Approaches should make trusted unmanned operations the standard approach in areas such as off-shore energy, aquafarming, deep sea mineral exploration and maritime defensive security operations.

In this competition, individuals can apply to take part, on behalf of their organisation, in a 5-day collaborative residential workshop known as the Innovation Lab. It will run from 20 April 2020 to 24 April 2020. The attendees will form project teams and work together to develop collaborative proposals for research and innovation projects that deliver concept demonstrators.

After the Innovation Lab project teams will have 4 weeks to finalise their proposals before submitting them for competitive assessment. Only Innovation Lab participants will be eligible to submit final proposals.

The project you design at the Innovation Lab is expected to have total costs between £1.5 million and £3 million.

To apply to attend the Innovation Lab you must:

  • commit to attending all 5 days on a residential basis at the nominated UK location
  • show you can work collaboratively and have the relevant skills, expertise and experience to represent your organisation
  • be from an organisation that is eligible to submit a project proposal
  • describe the financial and other resources your organisation can commit

If you are successful in your application you will need to sign a confidentiality agreement and return it before attending the Innovation Lab. This is to protect existing intellectual property (IP) and to allow full disclosure of expertise and capabilities at the Innovation Lab.

After the Innovation Lab is complete, you will have up to 4 weeks to submit final proposals via the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) portal. The proposal must be for a project which will start by September 2020 and be completed by 31 March 2022, with total costs £1.5m to £3m. Up to 70% of this can be covered by funding, depending on the size of your business.

Your proposal must focus on solutions that:

  • aim to make autonomous unmanned future systems the standard for offshore subsea operations, including navigating, sensing and communicating processed information
  • operate in an enhanced collaborative inter-platform environment with other manned and autonomous platforms all operating within the water column up to 3,000 metres
  • operate in environments such as off-shore energy, other areas of the blue economy, defence, and ideally in more than one
  • operate safely, efficiently, over long periods of time without human intervention and without maintenance
  • be modular in design with common interfaces and open architectures, and follow all appropriate industrial standards and system engineering principles

Your proposal must also:

  • quantify how the solution can be commercialised
  • include testing and demonstration in realistic scenarios or environments during and upon completion of the project
  • address regulatory or safety issues and constraints, providing a clear indication how these can or will be addressed/demonstrated

Your project must help develop one or more of the following.

  • Power and communications (includes power source, recharging, communications architecture, multimodal communications)
  • Sensing, detection, navigation and data processing (inc. imaging, object classification, pipe monitoring, navigation without GPS or comms, sensor design, data fusion)
  • Deployment and modularity (inc. interoperability, modular design, secure comms)
  • Operations (inc. autonomy, machine learning, reacting to environment)

A full list is given in the scope of the competition.

The following will not be funded:

  • projects which do not include a demonstration of the output solution in a representative environment
  • projects that are unwilling to participate in a technology showcase aimed at promoting the commercialisation of the funded solution
  • in-service systems or platforms

Briefing events

KTN will be holding three briefing events for this competition: click on each event for details and to make a booking.

23 January 2020: London briefing event (9.30am-12pm, Hallam Conference Centre, London W1)

23 January 2020: Online briefing event (same timing as London event) – you will be able to watch this on our YouTube channel

30 January 2020: Scotland briefing event (10.30am-1pm, thestudio…, Glasgow)