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Offshore renewables robotics groups join forces to bridge gap between research and industry

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Two of the UK’s leading research organisations in the development of robotics for use in offshore renewables have teamed up to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (ORCA) Hub, will work together to translate UK robotics innovation and research expertise into products and services for the offshore renewables’ industry.

They will also look to link key sector partners with academia based on specific needs and use cases.

The ORCA Hub is a collaboration led by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, a joint venture between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh University, which is supported by Imperial College London and the Universities of Oxford and Liverpool.

It’s hoped both organisations will use their research expertise and testing facilities in order to undertake joint research projects, as well as developing future skills by supporting MSc and PhD projects.

They also aim to draw up a national strategy with specific robotics technology innovation roadmaps towards commercialisation.

The two organisations last worked together in 2019, when ORCA Hub held a robotics demonstration day at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland.

The event highlighted some of the “cutting-edge technologies” currently in development and how they could be applied in the real world.

Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s operational performance director, said: “This collaboration with the UK’s leading universities in the field of applied robotics will enhance the technical capability and credibility of our Operations & Maintenance Centre of Excellence.

“We will be able to bridge the gap between the cutting-edge applied robotics research taking place in the UK right now and the needs of industry, who are focused on driving down costs, improving health and safety and ultimately the productivity and efficiency of our offshore renewable energy plant.”

Professor David Lane CBE, ORCA Hub director, said “This collaboration with the ORE Catapult builds on our on-going work within the renewables sector. The ORCA Hub, part of the National Robotarium, is developing use-inspired robotics and AI technology from the science base, driven by industry challenges.

“There is enormous scope for the application of robotics solutions within the energy sector to reduce cost and risk, increase productivity and contribute towards net zero energy transition. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the ORE to really drill drown on use cases, industry partnerships and our culture of development by demonstration.”

Register for free to join Energy Voice’s virtual Energy Transition Idea Exchange (ETIDEX) summit on November 19 at www.etidex.co.uk

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