Oceanscience Group Wins Office of Naval Research Grant to Develop Swarming River Robots

The Oceanscience Group, an Oceanside technology company, has been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I contract by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Oceanscience's institutional partner on the project is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Center for Ocean Engineering.

Oceanscience will work with MIT Professor Henrik Schmidt to develop a fleet of self-organizing drifting floats that will survey rivers autonomously. These small "smart" floats will travel in intercommunicating groups capable of repositioning themselves in a river to avoid hazards and provide real-time survey data from a variety of onboard sensors. The robotic floats are expected to weigh less than 10 pounds each. ONR has committed up to $100,000 for the design phase of the project. Upon successful completion of this phase, up to an additional $1,000,000 may be granted for further development and production. Oceanscience will work closely with Robotic Marine Systems (RMS) of Gray, Maine, experts in automation and "smart" vehicle behavior.

"This grant allows us to merge Oceanscience's industry-leading riverine monitoring experience with MIT and RMS expertise in advanced vessel autononomy," says Oceanscience CEO Ron George. "Our team is ideally suited to meet the Navy's need for cutting-edge swarming riverine monitoring systems."

The Department of Defense STTR program funds early-stage R&D projects for small technology companies to work cooperatively with researchers at universities and other research institutions. The small companies retain the intellectual property rights to technologies developed under the program.

The Oceanscience Group, founded in 1998, is a world leader in design and manufacture of field data systems for hydrologists, hydrographers, and oceanographers. Products include tethered, remotely-controlled and autonomous survey vessels and the revolutionary UnderwayCTDTM.

For more information on The Oceanscience Group visit www.oceanscience.com.

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