The first round of public demonstrations of the SEACLEAR system took place in Hamburg Port on the 8th of June 2023. This was the first time that the public, through media outlets and stakeholders, had the opportunity to interact with the SEACLEAR system, try different scenarios, and discover the potential and possibilities for autonomous litter detection and collection.
Prior to the demonstration, the SEACLEAR team did final tests and fine-tuning on various components of the system. The autonomous navigation of the SeaCAT and ROVs was tested in both lawnmower patterns and navigation with waypoints. This is crucial for creating the bathymetry map of the area, for detecting litter, and later on collecting it without the need for human intervention.
The litter placed by our team at the beginning of the trials, was later 'discovered' by the observation ROV, and the discovered coordinates of the litter were compared against observations made from the air using the drone of the system. The accuracy of the detection has improved significantly since our last trials, due to upgrades in the sensory system of the underwater ROVs.
The system not only detected the location of the litter, but was also able to pick it up for transfer to the storage basket. During the demonstration, we were able to successfully pick almost all the litter placed by our team.
The trials and the public demonstration was covered by ZDF, one of the biggest German public-service television broadcasters. The footage that was captured will be featured in 'Plan B', a show about alternatives to some of humanity's biggest problems. Furthermore, several stakeholders from the port of Hamburg visited the demostration, including the Harbor Masters, representatives from (amongst others) the Environmental, Port Strategy, and Hydrographics departments. This was important so that we get relevant feedback and ideas about the operation of the SeaClear system.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 871295.
The SEACLEAR project spans four years, running from January 1st, 2020 to December 31st, 2023.