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Oceanic Infrastructure Protection: NTNU's Safeguard Initiative

One of the goals of the research project Safeguard is to prolong the stays of the subsea robots under water and to do inspections without human intervention. Illustration: Eelume, snake robot

In the wake of recent damages to the Nord Stream 2 and Balticconnector pipelines in the Baltic Sea, NTNU introduces the groundbreaking project, Safeguard. Funded by the Norwegian Research Councils Petromaks2-program and industry giants, its goal is to devise smart solutions for safeguarding vital marine infrastructure. The ambition? To utilize intelligent autonomous systems that eliminate the need for constant human presence.

Professor Ingrid Bouwer Utne from the Department of Marine Technology and Safeguard's project lead, emphasized the growing need for robust surveillance in the vast oceanic expanses. "The incidents clearly showcase the susceptibility of our marine infrastructures. Both energy supply and Europe’s economy are affected," she comments. Safeguard's answer to this challenge? Subsea robots stationed on the seabed for monitoring and inspection duties.

With backing from powerhouses like Equinor and Vår Energi, and in collaboration with the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI), Safeguard aims to advance the capabilities of autonomous systems, making them the future guardians of our oceans.

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