Marine Innovation Programme announced by UKHO

The UK Hydrographic Office has launched a new ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme, offering start-ups a chance to develop new systems to solve the world’s ocean challenges, including navigational support for autonomous vessels.

Spearheaded by the UKHO’s Research, Design and Innovation team and RE_SET, the programme has been set up on the back of research commissioned by the UK Hydrographic Office into the Blue Economy, which is estimated to be worth £3.2 trillion by the year 2030.

Marine geospatial data is expected to play a role in supporting growth in this area by enabling the identification of new opportunities for tidal and wind energy generation and supporting safe navigation for larger autonomous ships.

Successful innovation programme participants will have access to ADMIRALTY data sets to develop their new offerings, ranging from seabed composition samples and bathymetric profiles of the seafloor, to tidal and navigational information.

The first innovation challenge is titled ‘Unlocking Autonomous Navigation’, and requires entrants to identify, trial and prove how navigational data can be used to support the safe navigation of Marine Autonomous Surface Ships.

Each selected participant will be able to avail of advice from ADMIRALTY experts, with winners receiving prizes worth £175,000 and an opportunity to launch their product into the marine sector.

Applications for this challenge will close on 7th October 2020.

“The launch of our Marine Innovation Programme is an exciting milestone in our journey to help many marine sectors solve some of the core issues that we face,” said Mark Casey, Head of Research, Design and Innovation at the UK Hydrographic Office.

“We believe that our challenges will support innovation across the Blue Economy and encourage digital leaders to use marine geospatial data in new and varied ways. We would encourage anyone with the skills or a big idea in these areas to get in touch, get involved, and help unlock the power of marine geospatial data”

Subsequent challenges will look to develop solutions in areas including maritime insurance, tidal and wave energy generation, blue carbon sequestration and sea-level rise modelling. Dates for these challenges will be confirmed throughout 2020 and 2021.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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