Kraków firm devises underwater vehicles inspired by STINGRAYS to research seabed
A Kraków start-up is leading the way in the development of ocean ecosystem monitoring with underwater devices inspired by the shape and movement of stingrays.
Working with the Polish Academy of Sciences, the fish-shaped unmanned underwater vehicles from Noa Marine will be able to autonomously collect chemical, acoustic, geological and visual data without human intervention for periods of up to six months.
Noa Marine’s Chief Engineer and CEO Michał Latacz told Radio Poland: “The construction [of these ‘digital stingrays’] was inspired by what appears in nature.
“In our devices we utilized so called wave drive propulsion modelled on the bodily construction of cephalopods and squid.
“Biological propulsion considerably differs from man-made structures which are widely used. It enables the vehicles to move effectively and ensure energy efficiency.
“Visually, you could say that they [the Sea Sentinels] are machines possessing wings which allow them to fly under the water.
“Thanks to their span, they enable us to fit several sensors and other devices on their surface which are useful in the process of exploration.”
Recently featured in ROV Planet, a magazine dedicated to unmanned maritime robotics, in addition to increased manoeuvrability as a result of the nature inspired propulsion system, Noa Marine’s devices were designed with the wellbeing of aquatic life in mind, with noise levels at a minimum so as not to stress sea creatures and the lack of rotating elements making them harmless to even fragile marine life.
Additional innovative features include the use of renewable energy to power the underwater devices via specially designed floating solar recharging stations where the green energy source will be mounted on a floater and each floater will provide energy for 3-5 Sentinel vehicles.
The high-tech Sinaps docking stations also act as a data collection point, so that when the vehicles are moored to the station, they will not just recharge their batteries from water, solar and wind power, but also send data they have collected directly to the client’s desk via broadband satellite communication.
The start-up has successfully completed the first stage of its works on putting the technology together and conducted a successful test of an unmanned mission in the Baltic Sea.
It has also secured its first contract with a global energy producer where it will carry out documentation of marine habitats in the vicinity of proposed off-shore wind and energy investments.
The rapidly expanding company foresees the uses of the technology across several sectors including Oil and Gas, Off-shore, Ocean Aquaculture and the Scientific sector, whilst their aim in the upcoming future is to take part in the digital transformation of the Baltic and North Seas and produce a full digital picture of the seas, accounting for data on its physical and chemical composition, the flora and fauna as well as levels of pollution.
Noa Marine’s Latacz told ROV Planet that “the future of ocean exploration and infrastructure maintenance belongs to autonomous vehicles.”