SEA-KIT is joining forces with University of Essex academics to create a secure and intelligent communication system for the control of uncrewed surface vessels (USV).
The company has won funding as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) by the UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.
The funding will help SEA-KIT to commercialise its USV offer by building bespoke vessels for its clients in the offshore energy sector, who conduct surveys for offshore wind and oil and gas infrastructure.
The intelligent communication system developed through this KTP will support SEA-KIT’s ambition to reduce the need for large, fuel-hungry vessels. As a result, SEA-KIT forecasts a potential reduction in carbon emissions of up to 95% in its operations.
“The team here is intent on coupling our proven USV designs with robust communications systems that function even in the harshest offshore conditions. Everyone working in the offshore energy sector is in pursuit of greater efficiencies. We want to disrupt the current market offering with innovations that enable the control of USVs for over-the-horizon missions and reliable retrieval of sensor data from equipment onboard, whilst also reducing cost and carbon footprint. This partnership with the University of Essex taps into their vast network science and AI knowledge base and we are looking forward to working with the team there.” Peter Walker, Director of Technology
The SEA-KIT collaboration with Essex will seek to commercialise the technology that was developed as part of the winning entry of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition. This global competition recognises advances in ocean technologies for rapid, unmanned and high-resolution ocean exploration and discovery.
Essex will employ a researcher to work full time with SEA-KIT. They will be tasked with leading the project with support from Essex Academics, to ensure that the technology developed through the KTP achieves strong commercial impact and research benefit.
As part of the KTP, the university will connect SEA-KIT with two leading academics, Dr Leila Musavian, a telecommunications expert and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Essex; and Dr Nikolaos Thomas an expert in machine learning for communications, from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.