US autonomous underwater robot swarm project gets grant

Berkeley Marine Robotics (BMR) has been awarded an innovation research grant (SBIR) by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US to conduct R&D and field demonstrations of an autonomous underwater swarm robotic system, to be used to perform inspections under ships.

BMR is working on a system of autonomous swarm control and underwater wireless communication to enable the automated inspection of ships coming into a port, with a series of robots able to measure and track hull-fouling levels to optimise cleaning schedules and improve coating performance.

Simultaneously, BMR says that the system’s scans would also be able to identify invasive species on the hull carried into port to reduce the need for manual spot checks.

This project’s technical lead is BMR’s co-founder and CTO Alexandre Immas, a PhD in marine robotics from The University of California, Berkeley, with engineering degrees from École Polytechnique in France. BMR is led by co-founder CEO Sushil Tyagi, a Wharton MBA in finance and strategic management, and previously a marine engineer at Exponent after degrees in naval architecture, marine physics, and ocean engineering from I.I.T. Delhi, RSMAS, and Berkeley.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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