Innovation

Standards for maritime charging – a key for innovating ocean observations

Crewed research vessels with combustion engines, deploying sensor packages by winch and wire, that is how we are accustomed to see ocean data acquisition. This mode of operation will surely continue for many years ahead. But when we aim for scaling up and when we want to innovate ocean observations, then we look to robotics, to automation, and to electrification.

Making innovation possible often involves creating a common frame work, to make sure any new innovative solution actually can fit in, can be adopted and can make a difference. That is why standards are important drivers for innovation. And that is why SCOOT coordinates the project SeaCharging, a pre-study into standards for electric charging in the maritime sector.

SCOOT’s heart is with the small dedicated platforms for data acquisition. However, we believe that transport vessels (for people and goods) are the most realistic source of standards. That includes an enormous range of vessel types and sizes and purposes. The project SeaCharging focuses initially on vessels for public transport of people.

As electrification in the maritime transport sector accelerates, standardization is important to avoid expensive solutions and facilitate the work for suppliers, planners and buyers of new charging infrastructure

More about maritime electrification and project SeaCharging

SCOOT ship days March 2022

On Friday 18 March we ended SCOOT’s ship week for this time. We plan to be back soon, hopefully with AUV Ran. As always we make it our mission to support entrepreneurs, small and medium sized companies, and basically anyone with an interesting idea. This week we made University of Gothenburg’s new research vessel Skagerak available. We could show images of the blue sky and the glittering ocean (yes, we had nice weather), but we would rather show the continuous data acquisition that goes on the inside of Skagerak. The photo above is from the vessel’s FerryBox system, for continuous measurements of surface water. Curious about the data? Get in touch with SCOOT.

Busy week it has been. Methods have ranged from the very established, like vertical profiling using CTD and sediment sampling using box corer, to the emerging (?) standard of sampling water for eDNA, with consultancy SeAnalytics AB.

At the end of the week we tested two prototypes of a simple 3D-printed temperature mini-logger. We made sure to deploy them at the same depth as the intake for the vessels FerryBox. Both SCOOT and the developing company Deepoid AB will be interested to see how well data from the loggers compare with data from the very well calibrated temperature sensor in the FerryBox system.

SCOOT supports innovation

Do you have an idea about how to get or use ocean data? Then SCOOT wants to support you, with ship time and autonomous platforms and robots, with sensors, expertise and networking. Here is what you should do:

  • Contact us. We want to hear about your ideas.
  • Follow us on Twitter, to learn first about our activities and offers.
  • Sign up for our newsletter, where we summarize what goes on at SCOOT.

Fishing for Data

The ocean is desperately under-sampled. Remember, we cannot forecast what we do not monitor. The problem of under-sampling is often stated about the deep ocean, but it is also very much the fact in the coastal ocean, as well in the marginal ice zone. These regions are characterized by high economical and societal value, and by high biological activity, including fish.

Collecting enough of data to describe these dynamic regions using standard research vessels would be extremely expensive. Robots struggle here as well, because of strong currents, ice, shallow water, risk of collision with vessels, etc. However, where there is fish, there is fishery… Why not employ fishing vessels to collect ocean data? Berring Data Collective is doing exactly that. SCOOT partner SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) is supporting the effort to bring “Fishing for Data” to Sweden. A number of Swedish fishing vessels have expressed interest, stay tuned…

The beauty of Fishing for Data is the cost-effectiveness. Just by attaching some robust sensors, and then doing their usual fishing activity, these vessels put near real-time data into open portals and aggregators, such as EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Services. This is where the computers of operational forecasters (such as SMHI) automatically go to find the data that feed their models. This also where ocean and climate scientists find data.

More about Fishing for Data

Seacat 2.0 – Autonomous inspection of marine installations

Seacat has been with us from the start of SCOOT. It has been a nice platform for testing integration of sensors, actuators and software. Seacat also allows us to experiment with tasks for robots in the marine domain. In 2021 we have been looking at automation of inspection/supervision of marine installations. “We” means a broad group of actors (see logos below), where SCOOT has the coordinating role. Last month we recorded a short promotion video to summarize the work.

So, we have integrated a range of sensors above and below the sea-surface, and we have implemented precise navigation close to objects, including in autonomous mode. Now we need to work on the platform specifications: speed, weight, maneuvering, endurance. Then we will have a robot ready for operations in the toughest of environments, the splash zone and close to objects. That is a high risk area where we prefer not to put humans.

More about Seacat

Technology for Marine Citizen Science

On December 16th SCOOT had invited a passionate group of people to the Kristineberg research station. During an intense and hands on workshop we got demonstrations of new equipment and methods for ocean data acquisition. Not the tools that many professional oceanographers are familiar with, but the kind of technology that open up the field of ocean data collection to many, many more than before. This is citizen science, and there are strong reasons to believe that it will transform marine science. (This workshop was the second event under the banner of Ocean Data for Ocean Health. You may remember the ODOH conference SCOOT co-arranged last year?)

During the workshop we looked at sensors and at apps that are suitable for a wide range of users, including fishermen, boaters and basically anyone in contact with the ocean.

  • Berring Data Collective demonstrated how local fisheries can put sensors on their gear, collecting data useful both for their own fishery and for oceanographic research.
  • Deepoid AB demonstrated their miniature loggers for ocean currents, temperature and light. Super easy to deploy on a moored line and endurable thanks to low power consumption.
  • Sailing 4 Science showed castaway CTD, an easy-to-use instrument that quickly delivers a vertical profile of temperature and salinity.
  • SMHI presented the app EyeOnWater from MARIS and others. The app allows anyone can upload photos of the sea-surface to help capture the ocean color, an important parameter for determining particle content and presence of algae.
  • Maranics AB presented an app for the project Algal Blooms Sweden, which invites anyone to share images and observations of blooms in the ocean.

New technologies open new opportunities for observing the ocean, that is wonderful… But that does not immediately translate into action, or impact for that matter! We discussed at length how and why broader groups of our society can be engaged in building knowledge about the ocean. Uta Wehn, from University of Gothenburg and IHE Delft, has long experience in this field and led us in the discussion. We were joined online by John Tumpane from Formas, who pointed out that citizen science has an important role in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for a Sustainable Development.

Marine Citizen Science is about co-creating ocean knowledge, it is about a radically more democratic ocean science and ocean governance. Are the current actors in academia and public agencies ready for that?

More about (marine) citizen science

New actors, new ideas, new sensors!

We must get more players into the water, more actors into doing technology for ocean measurements… That is why we started SCOOT and that is why we:

  1. Put resources in the hands of entrepreneurs.
  2. Connect entrepreneurs with new partners from industry, academia and the public sector.

Let us give you a small example of how it can work:

A new sensor for ocean currents
from Deepoid AB

  • Anna Willstrand Wranne, leader of SMHI’s marine technology group, tells about an interesting company, Deepoid AB, delivering an acoustic modem to SMHI.
  • SCOOT’s coordinator contacts Anders Brodin from Deepoid, who says they are working on a new type of logging sensor for ocean currents.
  • SCOOT’s coordinator also contacts oceanography professor Göran Broström, who think this sounds interesting and writes to Anders at Deepoid.
  • A joint discussion about scope, technical solutions, ambition, time line and funding ensues. (This time without external funders.)
  • A new innovation project takes off: Deepoid shall develop, manufacture and deliver 10 current loggers to the University of Gothenburg. The technology is based on position sensing of a pendulum, with minimal weight and minimal power consumption.

Testing in real environment
and communicating results

Last week SCOOT’s coordinator, together with communicator Maria Holmkvist (Centre for Sea and Society) visited Göran and Anders at classic research station Bornö in Gullmarn. We saw Göran cracking theory, while Anders adjusted some of the loggers. Most of all we saw real environment testing and validating data collection (day and night!), new sensors deployed together with traditional acoustic sensors. Göran had brought his mini-ROV, which allowed for inspection and nice underwater photos of the deployed loggers.

SCOOT will continue to follow Deepoid AB and this project. Specifically we want to support the next steps: Communicating with more potential users and finding funding for further development, such as including measurements of temperature and light. We believe this robust and easy to deploy sensor is optimal for:

  • Coastal marine research.
  • Monitoring around planned or completed constructions, such as aquaculture.

Thoughts? Contact Deepoid and SCOOT:

Small companies using big robot

She is a mighty beast, SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran: 7 meters long, weighing around 2 tonnes and with a sensor suite like a modern research vessel. In 2019 we demonstrated Ran to a number of SMEs, and in 2020 the startup company Marflow AB got a dedicated day of Ran operation. In March 2021 the turn came to three other small companies to operate and get data acquisition done by AUV Ran: SeAnalytics AB, Ten Island Seafarm AB and Bottenlusen / Vinga Konstruktion AB.

There are more SCOOT days in Ran’s calendar this year, in June and in August/September. Do you want to join? Click the buttons below.

"Our start-up has been a fantastic success, and now we want to grow. Through the support of SCOOT and the surveying done by AUV Ran we are well prepared for expanding our installations at sea. And it was great to work with Stephan Hagerling at Bottenlusen."
"The mapping done by AUV Ran was impressive: The details, the speed, the complete coverage of the area I wanted. I cannot see how I could have got this data in any other way. Through SCOOT I have also started an interesting collaboration with Ten Island Seafarm AB."
"The possibility of using AUV Ran for automated sampling of water in the monitoring of invasive species based on eDNA analysis is very important for us. It is a cost-effective way of covering a large area. Such an 'early warning' system is essential to mitigate invasive species."

Mobilization & preparations

Mission & data acquisition

Ocean Changemaker: Berring Data Collective

We are extremely happy to share that Cooper Van Vranken has been selected as an ‘Ocean Changemaker‘ at the World Ocean Initiative, arranged by The Economist Group. Cooper is the founder of the Berring Data Collective. This is indeed a game-changer in ocean observing: Using fishing vessels to bring in high quality data from ocean regions where data is most desperately needed, including around Greenland. Check it out, it is already live!

Cooper was invited speaker at our online conference Ocean Data for Ocean Health in September. Afterwards he joined us for the follow up breakfast webinar on alternative platforms for ocean sensors. Cooper collaborates closely with Patrick Gorringe who works EMODnet Physics and at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Together they make data collected by fishing vessels available to all users, including ocean and climate researchers, operational forecasters and environmental monitoring agencies. Cooper and co-authors have published their work in Frontier in Marine Science.

AUV Ran before diving.

AUV Ran back in Sweden: Join the collaboration, tests and operations in 2021!

In 2019 SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran became first to conquer the depths under the ‘doomsday’ Thwaites Glacier. In 2020 Ran’s greatest achievement was the mapping of subsea landslides in the 2000 metres deep Kaikōura Canyon off New Zeeland (read news at NIWA and see their nice Ran pop video below!).

Now Ran is back in Sweden, and as always SCOOT makes her available for entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs. First out is a group of SMEs during an intense mission week in early February on the Swedish west coast.

Let us know if you want to join the collaboration/testing/operations, already in February and in the planned June session. We are not looking for AUV experts only. We are looking for anyone with ideas for utilising or collecting ocean data!

Ocean Data conference spurs collaboration!

September 29th at Nya Varvet and online

What a day… The conference Ocean Data for Ocean Health covered a lot of the themes SCOOT has been involved in the last two years. We hosted the event on September 29th at SCOOT’s space at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg, and we were happy to gather quite a number of old and new SCOOT people and partners.

The programme scratched on the surface of many urgent topics. SCOOT is committed to contribute to keeping up the momentum of this dynamic environment! (Just hosted breakfast meeting on sensors platforms of opportunity, see below.)

Especially intense for SCOOT was the final Block 4, demonstrating autonomous technology for collecting ocean data, see below.

Block 4: Demonstration of ocean robots

Autonomous vehicles

VOTO‘s research coordinator Louise Biddle and oceanographic technician Olle Petersson explain how gliders on and below the seasurface monitors the ocean.

Play Video
Next generation ocean observers!

Elsa and Jakob from the Science Club in Lysekil show their drifter Dynamene, built by Science Club and deployed in the morning, retrieving data live!

Play Video
Experimental platforms

Ola Benderius from Chalmers Revere lab and Robert Rylander from RISE Maritime research demontrate how knowledge from the automotive industry can be applied in the maritime domain. (Special appearance by flying drone from MMT Swden AB…)

Play Video

October 21st, breakfast webinar on tuna and fishing vessels

We were 6 persons having our morning coffee at Nya Varvet and another 6 joining the video meeting. Picking up from Sept 29th, we talked at some length about opportunities (and challenges) around data from tagged animals and from sensors mounted on fishing gear/vessels. Take home messages:

  • These data have huge potential to fill serious gaps in existing ocean monitoring programmes, where other and autonomous methods struggle. These gaps include shelf and coastal seas and marginal ice zones.
  • The cost-benefit relation is very good!
  • The infrastructure for collecting and distributing these data is rapidly expanding and maturing.
  • Challenges include subsurface communication and integration into existing monitoring data flows.

Recording from the meeting.