University and Royal Navy agree to join forces for marine autonomy research

The University of Plymouth and the Royal Navy have joined forces to conduct research and advance understanding around the future potential of marine autonomy.

The partnership will see world-leading academics, in fields including autonomous marine vessels and maritime cyber security, working closely with navy personnel on a range of innovative projects.

That will include Project Hecla, established in 2018 to optimise the Navy’s ability to collect and exploit hydrographic and oceanographic information.

The University will work with the project team on ways to enhance its feeding back of vital survey information to the UK Hydrographic Office and the RN’s highly skilled HM cadre.

They will also look at harnessing the capabilities of the University’s unique and recently opened £3.2 million Cyber-SHIP Lab, which aims to secure maritime operations through cyber resilience research, tools and training.

The partnership was formally launched during a visit to the University by Rear Admiral Andrew Burns CB, OBE, Director Develop of Navy Command, and other senior navy personnel.

Hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Petts CBE, and academic staff from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, they were given a tour of the new Cyber-SHIP Lab and other facilities within the Marine Building.

They also visited the waterfront Marine Station, where the University’s own fleet of autonomous marine vessels – including the uncrewed surface vehicle USV CETUS – is based.

The University of Plymouth was recently named the leading university in the world for marine research and teaching and this is enhanced by several significant partnerships with international marine and maritime organisations.

It has an established association with the Royal Navy, having for many years served provided opportunities for personnel during their professional training at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

It trains specialist Officers and Ratings of the Royal Navy’s Warfare Branch in hydrography, meteorology and oceanography, and accredits the degrees offered by the Royal Marines School of Music.

Several University staff also serve in the Royal Navy Reserve, regularly swapping their academic roles to serve on operations across the world.

World leaders

We are ranked the number one university globally for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 14: life below water.

The award recognises the quality of our marine research and teaching as well as our efforts to reduce the impact of campus activities on the marine environment. The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Learn more about our rankings

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021: life below water

Marine Institute

Representing 3000 staff, researchers and students, the University of Plymouth’s Marine Institute is the first and largest such institute in the UK.

We provide the external portal to our extensive pool of world-leading experts and state-of-the-art facilities, enabling us to understand the relationship between the way we live, the seas that surround us and the development of sustainable policy solutions.

Discover more about the Marine Institute

Autonomous Marine Systems Research Group (AMS)

The Autonomous Marine Systems (AMS) Research Group is a focal point for inter disciplinary studies and inter-school collaborations, particularly with the University’s Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems (CRNS), as well as externally with other universities and several industrial partners within the UK and globally.

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