Maritime Technologies Test Centre Opens on Heligoland

German research institutes Fraunhofer IFAM and DFKI Robotics Innovation Center have opened a test centre for maritime technologies on the Heligoland Island and in the sea area offshore.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) and the German Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) aim to develop and test complex robotic systems that operate autonomously and intelligently under water, on the water surface, and in the air. The systems are meant to be able to carry out inspections, maintainance, and repair works on the high seas.

The main objective of the joint development works is the proof of reliability of the hardware and software under realistic conditions.

Apart from the logistics on the island, the test centre for maritime technologies consists of a testing area just off the island, offering space for different kinds of testing scenarios with a surface area of several square kilometers and a draught of up to 45 metres.

The plans for a first project in the test centre already exist. In a publicly funded project, a new formation procedure for support structures of offshore wind turbines will be tested in cooperation with an industrial consortium led by the company Vallourec Deutschland GmbH.

The steel structure created for the project in the test area will additionally be made accessible as a test specimen and platform for further users.

”Heligoland is the world’s first offshore wind energy service island in the North Sea,” Joerg Singer, Mayor of Heligoland, said.

”The current and future developments fit perfectly with the existing activities and emphasise the attractiveness of Heligoland as a real-life laboratory for the development of future technologies.”

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