BRUSSELS — A Portuguese civil-military research project supported by the European Defence Agency (EDA) is testing reduced-energy technologies for underwater robotics, said an EDA official. “In the Defence sector, the technology will allow underwater unmanned marine systems and robotics to operate at lower cost and added capabilities,” says an EDA press release.
“Looking for underwater mines is one possible use,” said the EDA official. Others include exploration, scientific data gathering and fisheries. The planned delivery date is June 2015.
The so-called TURTLE project was developed by a consortium of Portuguese small to medium enterprises (SMEs), research institutes and universities: the SME Silva Matos Metalomecanica, INESC PORTO (Technology & Science Laboratory), ISEP (School of Engineering, Porto Polytechnic Institute) and CINAV (Portuguese Navy Research Center). Its aim is to produce new ascent and descent energy-efficient technologies to be incorporated in robotic vehicles used by civil and military stakeholders for underwater operations.
TURTLE is the first of seven dual-use research initiatives supported by the EDA and is the first to receive EU structural funds for civilian and military research. Military research projects are only eligible to receive EU structural funds if they also have a civilian dimension.
The EU is funding 60 percent of the cost of the project, or about €770,000 (US $1.1 million).
The project is part of the EU’s efforts to coordinate security and defense research via the EDA and the European Commission. The idea is to use dual-use research projects to promote innovation in Europe while retaining key technological and industrial capabilities.