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Subprojects of the Department of Design and Operation of Maritime Systems:

  •  Naval design of a surface vehicle which acts as a communication node between satellites, seabed station and seafaring
  • Development of a seabed station which acts as a base for energy storage and data collection during deep-sea exploration
  • Transfer of technology and development of strategies for valorisation

The SMIS-concept aims for a novel way of autonomous monitoring and exploration of the maritime environment based on pressure-tolerant technologies. Initially two autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), one seabed station (SBS) and one unmanned surface vehicle (USV) are operated from a research vessel, or as required from a land station, while using the principles of swarm intelligence. The most prominent unique feature of the SMIS-fleet is its application as intelligent swarm over a water depth of up to 6.000 meters. This is realised by novel algorithms for swarm control and communication between vehicles and seabed station or the control room onboard the research vessel.

During the project all developed vehicles will be tested in the Baltic Sea on expeditions aboard the RV Elisabeth Mann Borgese. And also onboard of the RV Poseidon (2014) and the RV Maria S. Merian (2015) to perform a three-dimensional survey of the Azores-Front in the Northeast Atlantic.

After the successful project phase the SMIS-system, with its modular concept, can be assembled to match the required purpose of different operation scenarios. The potential of the system is focused on preparation of deep-sea mining, especially the seabed exploration of polymetallic nodules. In this context it should be possible to survey the environmental impact. Another operation scenario is to inspect the proper coverage of submarine cables in offshore wind parks.

Within the research project - strategies for valorisation and transfer of technology shall facilitate the development of small and medium-sized enterprises to become system provider, as explicit required in the research focus TIMM [1]. With the realisation of research results, the competitiveness of the German industry can be strengthened in the strategically important market of marine technology.


project partners: IMPaC Offshore Engineering GmbH, Enitech GmbH, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), University of Rostock (CeMarIS), Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde (IOW)

funding: German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi)

project duration: 01.Jan 2013 – 30.Jun 2016


For additional information visit www.smis-monitoring.de


[1] „Technologien für Inspektion und Monitoring im Meer“ within the framework of the research programme „Maritime Technologie der nächsten Generation“ , BMWi, May 2011

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