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BMT was established in 1985 by bringing together research and technology organisations that traced their roots back to the beginning of the 20th century.
BMT is a leading international multi-disciplinary engineering, science and technology consultancy offering a broad range of services, particularly in the defence, energy, environment, shipping and ports and logistics sectors. Customers are served by a staff of around 1,300 professionals located in a network of international subsidiary companies.
Building on its deep and specialist knowledge BMT has grown a wide range of business services to assist companies and governments investing in major capital projects and seeking to operate their businesses in the most cost-effective, safe, reliable and environmentally responsible manner
SHOAL is a European Research project managed by BMT Group which aims to develop a number of robotic fish that will work together in order to monitor and search for pollution in ports and other aquatic areas.
Traditional methods of monitoring pollution involve obtaining samples to be sent to a lab for testing; the whole process takes time and makes real-time pollution information far from a reality. SHOAL aims to make this process real-time by using autonomously controlled fish to perform tests in-situ. The life-like creatures, which will mimic the undulating movement of real fish, will be equipped with tiny chemical sensors to find the source of potentially hazardous pollutants in the water, such as leaks from vessels in the port or underwater pipelines. The fish will communicate with each other using ultrasonics and information will be transmitted to the port's control centre via Wi-Fi from the "charging hub" where the fish can charge their batteries. This will enable the authorities to map in real time the source and scale of the pollution
Unlike previous robotic fish that work with remote controls, these will have autonomous navigation capabilities, enabling them to swim independently around the port without any human interaction. This will also enable them to return automatically to their hub to be recharged when battery life (approximately eight hours) is low. Using robotic fish builds on a design created by hundreds of millions of years' worth of evolution which is incredibly energy efficient. This efficiency is something that is needed to ensure that the underwater environment can be navigated for hours on end.
The five fish are being built by Professor Huosheng Hu and his robotics team at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, University of Essex. The fish, which cost around £20,000 to make, will measure 1.5 meters (1.6 yards) in length (roughly the size of a seal) and swim at a maximum speed of about one meter (1.1 yards) per second. The carp-shaped robots will be let loose in the port of Gijon in northern Spain as part of the three-year research project funded by the European Commission and coordinated by BMT Group Ltd.