SOLSTICE lays foundation for Marine Robotics in WIO region
In preparation of the launch of the WIO Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (AMOS) at Nelson Mandela University (NMU), the Dean of Engineering, Prof Ossie Franks, accompanied by two NMU engineers visited the NOC Marine Autonomy and Robotics Systems facility in May 2018 to learn of the latest development in MAS. On their return back to South Africa, NMU was awarded $800,000 USD over 3 years by the merSETA to initiate the new AMOS facility. Core funding from the South African Government to purchase a small fleet of robots is now being pursued. Full growth of WIO-AMOS will be facilitated by a 5-year appointment of the Chair in Marine Robotics. The WIO-AMOS Centre operating under the NMU Faculty of Engineering will perform the following functions:
- It will support WIO-wide research through the deployment and operation of off-the-shelf robotics, such as gliders
- The Centre will host and maintain marine robotics equipment with dedicated engineers who will also execute data collection missions.
- Stimulate innovation in marine robotics, ie design and build new marine robots to support WIO ocean sciences in collaboration with the UK’s National Oceanography Centre.
- The Centre will have a strong training component involving postgraduate students from both institutions and the wider WIO.