Khalifa University of Science and Technology recently announced the opening of the Khalifa University Marine Studies and Research Lab, the first sophisticated robotics research center in the area equipped with wave and steam generation facilities.
Khalifa University’s Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS) and Stanford University have also joined forces to study how marine robots can be used to protect healthy ocean ecosystems and clean up pollution by removing plastic.
Cutting-Edge Testing Environment at the Marine Studies and Research Lab
They outlined the partnership in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Stanford University’s Professor Oussama Khatib, the director of the Stanford Robotics Laboratory (SRL), and Professor Sir John O’Reilly, president of Khalifa University.
The Marine Studies and Research Lab at Khalifa University provides a controlled environment for testing robots, allowing them to be evaluated in simulated adverse underwater conditions similar to those found in the sea. The pool has wave and flow current generators, tracking systems above and below water, and a gantry-type device that hangs over the whole width of the pool.
The Stanford University team led by Dr. Khatib created and constructed the OceanOneK robot, which also debuted in Abu Dhabi. It showed off its capacity to retrieve plastic debris in the Khalifa University marine robotics pool.
The MoU will support the research and development of marine robotics systems for sustainable marine ecosystem applications, including ocean monitoring, ocean cleaning, and deep-water exploration.
According to Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President of Khalifa University, the Marine Robotics Lab will advance marine studies and research in the UAE and the surrounding area. The lab is one of the leading research facilities in the region and the first of its kind. He also discussed how the new facility would make the UAE a world leader in research and development and boost the country’s study capabilities.
The Marine Robotics Pool will enable thorough and controlled testing of marine robotic vehicles, including autonomous, surface-mounted, submerged, and remotely driven equipment. Marine robots have the potential to be used in various applications. These include the cleaning of plastics underwater, inspection of coral reefs, and inspection of critical infrastructure.
The director of KUCARS, Professor Lakmal Seneviratne, noted that their scientists have already been actively creating autonomous robots intended for various uses in land, air, and marine environments. He also highlighted that five ground-breaking robotics systems that may be used in these fields had just recently been filed for patent by KUCARS researchers.
In collaboration with Stanford University, Khalifa University’s ground-breaking Marine Robotics Lab offers a substantial advancement in marine studies and research, emphasizing sustainable ecosystem applications. The partnership demonstrates a dedication to expanding technology to benefit the environment and our oceans.