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ORE Catapult and ORCA Hub join forces to advance robotics in offshore renewables

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14 October 2020

Two of the UK’s leading research organisations in the development of robotics for use in offshore renewables are to collaborate to strengthen the relationship between applied academic research and industry need and further develop and amplify the sector’s robotics opportunity.

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (ORCA) Hub, a collaboration led by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh), with Imperial College London and the Universities of Oxford and Liverpool, will work together to translate UK robotics innovation and research expertise into products and services for the offshore renewables’ industry and link key industry partners with academia based on specific needs and use cases.

Both organisations will use their research expertise and unique test and demonstration facilities to undertake joint research programmes and projects, as well as developing future skills by supporting MSc and PhD projects. They will also develop a national strategy with specific robotics technology innovation roadmaps towards commercialisation.

Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s Operational Performance Director, said: "This collaboration with the UK’s leading universities in the field of applied robotics will enhance the technical capability and credibility of our Operations & Maintenance Centre of Excellence. We will be able to bridge the gap between the cutting-edge applied robotics research taking place in the UK right now and the needs of industry, who are focused on driving down costs, improving health and safety and ultimately the productivity and efficiency of our offshore renewable energy plant.”

Professor David Lane CBE, ORCA Hub Director, said "This collaboration with the ORE Catapult builds on our on-going work within the renewables sector. The ORCA Hub, part of the National Robotarium, is developing use-inspired robotics and AI technology from the science base, driven by industry challenges. There is enormous scope for the application of robotics solutions within the energy sector to reduce cost and risk, increase productivity and contribute towards net zero energy transition. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the ORE to really drill drown on use cases, industry partnerships and our culture of development by demonstration.”

The two organisations last worked together in 2019, when ORCA Hub held a successful robotics demonstration day at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland, highlighting some of the cutting-edge technologies currently in development, and how these could be applied in the real-world.
ORE Catapult and ORCA Hub join forces to advance robotics in offshore renewables