The Port of Gdynia wants to use drones to research port waters -
The Port of Gdynia wants to use drones to research port waters
Date of publication: 19.05.2023

On Monday, the first, two-year part of the research and development project at the Port of Gdynia ended. Its purpose is to check the possibility of using unmanned vessels to study port waters.

On May 15 and 16, the last research session using an unmanned vessel took place at the Port of Gdynia. It is part of the research and development project "Monitoring and observation system for port areas using floating unmanned mobile research platforms", which began in 2021. So far, a total of seven research sessions have been carried out using a remotely controlled floating drone. The device automatically collected samples of water and bottom sediments and performed bathymetric measurements. In total, over 112 samples were collected from 28 measurement points in 7 different areas of the Port of Gdynia, and a number of bathymetric measurements and sonar surveys of the seabed were made in 12 locations in the port. After testing the samples, a physico-chemical profile of port waters was created. The entire project is to show that the use of a small unmanned vessel for this type of measurement is as effective as performing the same tests using a specialized manned vessel, as is currently the case in ports.

– We are checking the possibilities and credibility of research conducted by unmanned vessels. We would like these to be solutions that will be legally allowed in the future. Our main goal is to obtain accreditation from the state administration and its units for tests performed by unmanned vessels – says Anna Salomon, project manager on behalf of the Port of Gdynia Authority. – We want to demonstrate to the state administration that the bathymetry performed by this drone is as reliable and useful as the bathymetry performed by classic manned vessels.

As part of the project, implemented with co-financing from the National Center for Research and Development, a consortium was established, led by Por Gdynia. It also includes the Gdańsk University of Technology, Gdynia Maritime University as well as the Norwegian Institute of Water Research and Miros AS. The consortium selected a subcontractor to design, construct and equip a small unmanned surface vessel. This drone was registered this year as the first surface vessel of this type in Poland and received a seaworthiness certificate. During the two years of the project, the vessel could be seen at work in the basins of the Port of Gdynia. It is controlled remotely from the shore.

The next step will be to create 3D models based on the data collected using the drone, and then build a database of test results. The entire project has been scheduled for nearly three years and will end in 2024.

The teams working on the project include: scientists and specialists in various fields. The Port of Gdynia also emphasizes that women play a key role in the implementation of tasks.

The project is implemented as part of the POLNOR 2019 Call program, announced by the National Center for Research and Development. The cost of its implementation is approximately PLN 7 million. Co-financing in the amount of PLN 5,454,456.03 comes in 85% from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, and in 15% from the national budget.

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