- Description of the Thematic Lines +
This thematic area aims to foster new knowledge securing new mineral, hydrocarbon, and offshore energy resources in a way to help maximizing deep-sea exploration and avoid negative impacts on marine biodiversity and food resources.
Our targets for the coming five years are threefold: i) to facilitate the use of advanced robotic and modern sensing technologies down to 3000 meters depth, together with the necessary risk-preventing mechanisms and computer-based warning systems; ii) to guarantee doubling the capacity for coastal exploration, integrating modeling tools, adaptive sampling networks, and space born data, and iii) to implement and promote a web-based Observatory for participatory risk governance in South Atlantic, in a way facilitating opportunities for boosting industry and new scientific discoveries.
From a technological standpoint, we will bring recent advances in robotics, modeling, acoustic communications, and networked systems to bear on the development of innovative subsea and marine platforms and instruments. They will facilitate new technology frontiers:
Rationale: Scientific and Technological status and requirements
We are at the threshold of a new era where marine science and technology will join hands to foster the development and operation of advanced technological systems to unravel yet unexplored areas at sea and set up monitoring and forecasting systems resulting from the seamless integration of modeling tools, adaptive ocean sampling networks, and space observing data.
The enormous effort done worldwide towards the development of increasingly sophisticated marine technological systems has shown to commercial operators and policy makers that reliable and cost-effective tools and methodologies for ocean exploration and exploitation, as well as to harness ocean energy in the form of waves and wind are close to being achieved.
At a European level, the need for advanced marine technology (and its interplay with marine science with a view to challenging scientific, commercial, and societal applications) has been strongly expressed in a number of directives and declarations that have led to the celebrated Ostend declaration in 2010. "The EurOCEAN 2010 Conference further delivered an unequivocal message on the societal and economic benefits Europe derives from the seas and oceans and of the crucial role that research and technology must play in addressing the Seas and Oceans Grand Challenge". This trend has culminated in the EU Blue Growth strategy which aims to support "sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole". Funding and support sources for Blue Growth projects include the Horizon 2020 funding for marine and maritime research.
The national policy
At a national level, the 2013-2020 National Strategy for the Sea advances a work program rooted in science and technology, aimed at meeting the challenges afforded by the need to explore and exploit in a sustainable manner the vast areas covered by the territorial seas, including the new dimension that will arise from the approval of the extension of the continental platform beyond the 200 nautical miles. The program addresses specific issues and sets technological challenges related to deep sea exploration and exploitation, namely the development and operation of robotic and monitoring systems as well as underwater observatories at a national scale.
- Structure of the Thematic Line +
We aim to develop integrated tools to provide online information and forecasts based on the integration of in-situ marine data, earth observing data, and model results with a view to support ocean exploration and exploitation. New robotic systems equipped with vision, acoustic, and marine-related sensor suites will be developed to gather in-situ environmental data and to inspect man-made structures. Ocean circulation, biogeochemistry, and transport models for all relevant spatial and temporal scales will be validated with in situ and space born data. In-situ biological data will be gathered using fixed and moving platforms and physical and biological sensors.
To meet these objectives, the activities will be organized along 5 main lines:
The Thematic Area (TA) will be coordinated by a PI (António Pascoal, ISR) and a deputy PI (António Sarmento, MARETEC). The TA scientific and management committee (SMC) will be formed by the PI, the deputy PI, and the leaders of each of the 5 research lines. It will be the role of the Scientific and Management Committee to: i) coordinate the scientific strategy of the TA in close collaboration with all the researchers involved, ii) ensure the execution of the work plan, scheduling of activities, and the observance of milestones and deliverables, and iv) supervise the preparation of annual reports. The SMC will also be responsible for preparing and maintaining a webpage for the TA (a sublink of the Associated Lab webpage), aimed at the scientific community, but with special sections for students and the population at large.
To foster collaboration among LARSyS groups in the context of this thematic area, three mechanisms are proposed: 1) periodic, monthly-based meetings and seminars to share results and keep the groups informed about the state of progress of the work; 2) joint publications in cross-disciplinary, peer reviewed journals, and 3) yearly publication of digital brochure highlighting the key goals and accomplishments in the context of the TA. Following the successful organization of a number of dedicated schools by some of the LARSyS groups, two Summer Schools will be organized in 2016 and 2019, focusing on the interplay between marine science, technology, and governance. The objective is to attract potential PhD students and to introduce existing ones to the extremely challenging topics that are at the root of this Thematic Area.
- Objectives of the Thematic Line +
LARSys aims to generate integrated products that address societal challenges involving Robotics, Environment, Health, and Technology Management. The Ocean merges directly robotic systems, environment, ocean resources, and technology, and is a major societal challenge. All LARSys units have vast experience on ocean studies and ocean technology development and valorization. For these reasons, the implementation of this Thematic Area is a natural choice for LARSys. Actions will be carried along 5 major lines:
A1. Technologies for Ocean Exploration.
i) development of a new breed of networked robotic systems and distributed systems using biological species - as carriers of miniaturized sensors - for marine habitat mapping and remote sensing in complex, unstructured, underwater environments .
ii) deployment of cooperative air/marine vehicles systems for coastal water surveys as well as detection and tracking of surface pollutants;
iii) development and sea operation of navigation, control, and remote sensing systems to enhance the operational capabilities of deep sea systems. Strong cooperative links with the EMPEC (Mission Structure for the Extension of the Continental Platform) will be exploited to leverage on the use of the deep water LUSO ROV as a testbed for system prototyping, thus affording both institutions the know how required to impose Portugal as one of the countries with access to the deep sea.
A2. Robotics Systems for the Inspection of Critical Marine Infrastructures. Development and operation of robotic vehicles/systems for operations related to the inspection of ocean wave and offshore wind energy infrastructures. Work with the WavEC (Wave Energy Center) will progress to the level where the role of robotic systems as tools para excellence for the inspection of critical infrastructures can be shown clearly.
A3. Environmental Modelling
Modelling will be used as a diagnostic, prognostic, and integrator tool to support research, operations at sea, and the management of emergency situations. Web services providing online data and forecasts will be created. Global solutions (www.myocean.eu) will force regional models validated using Earth Observing data (e.g. Copernicus). Results will be provided to local models in order to generate finer results validated by in situ data gathered in A1/A2. Software clients will be developed to download model results and compute derived properties required for users' daily activities, dynamic risks assessment or emergency management. Intelligent systems will automate operations to reduce costs/response time.
A4. Risk governance, industrialization, and technological changes in oil and gas exploitation. The key objective is to actively promote a consortium in the form of an Observatory for Risk Governance, Industrialization and Technological change, "SOUTH Oil&Gas 2030", to stimulate sustainable offshore Oil&Gas related businesses. The aim is to help improving our understanding of new innovation dynamics and the sustainable Oil&Gas industries in South Atlantic and Sub-Saharan Africa. The identification of vast hydrocarbons resources in the Brazilian pre-salt and, eventually, in the African pre-salt, as well as the technological innovations that led to the rapid increase of unconventional hydrocarbons resources in the USA both are reshaping the energy geopolitics. Recent gas discoveries in Mozambique may help in this process. Together, they have driven the rationale behind "SOUTH Oil&Gas 2030".
A5. Underwater acoustic systems for environmental/marine life monitoring and impact assessment. We will exploit symbiotic links between acoustic systems and marine robotics (carriers of advanced instrumentation and sensors) as a holistic approach to ocean exploration and exploitation. We will devise techniques and methodologies for analyzing ambient noise in coastal areas or in limited deep sea regions of intense activity to gain insight into the patterns of noise generated by marine life.