Sunday, May 19, 2019
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Post Doctoral and PhD positions available at CRIS

28th February   2019

We have several Post Doctoral and PhD positions available in our centre. The application areas are in Field Robotics, Renewable Energy, Manufacturing 4.0, Blended Autonomy etc.



Director of CRIS Daniel Toal gave a lecture on Smart Remotely Operated Vehicles , 28th Feb at UL

28th February   2019

Professor Daniel Toal, Director, CRIS – Centre for Robotics & Intelligent Systems and Chair of Electrical Engineering and Robotics, Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, gave the lecture on “Smart Remotely Operated Vehicles (subsea and airborne ROVs) for work on Marine energy infrastructure”. The talk focused on the engineering challenges to be addressed in operations support of Marine Renewable Energy through all stages from scoping out the resources, selecting best sites, construction/installation of MRE infrastructure, cable laying, inspection, repair maintenance, ongoing monitoring, etc. The lecture was organised by IET (Ireland Network) as part of their programme of public talks. More on IET here. Link to lecture.


CRIS at Wind Energy Science Conference from 17th-20th of June

22nd February   2019

The Wind Energy Science Conference will be held in Cork from 17th-20th of June. The WESC is to provide a multi-disciplinary open forum for discussion where delegates can explore the latest developments in wind energy science, spot emerging trends and identify future collaborators. The programme will also include the Mini-symposia (MS) on topics which are important to the future development of the wind energy research community. The CRIS team members Gerard Dooly and Joseph Coleman will chair and organise the Mini-symposia for Theme 3: Wind to Wire Power Systems & Theme 5: Turbine Lifecycle Considerations. Those who are interested in speaking at our MS should contact the relevant Chair and discuss. If your topic is accepted, you will be invited to submit a 1-page abstract directly to the MS Chair for review.
More on the WESC conference and Mini-symposia here.


We supported the SFPC ‘COMPASS’ competition on Alternative Energy Opportunities

11th  February  2019

Shannon Foynes Port Company ‘COMPASS’ competition was established to raise awareness of the potential of the Shannon Estuary and SFPC as an economic driver of national importance. This year’s Compass TY competition was based on the theme ‘Transforming the Waves of the Shannon Estuary – Developing Alternative Energy Opportunities’. The five schools were shortlisted from a record number of entries for the competition from schools across Clare, Kerry and Limerick.The Awards Ceremony of the competition was held at the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum on Friday, February 8th. The winners were presented with their awards by Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O’Donovan, and with the presence of Limerick’s All-Ireland winning manager John Kiely, MEP Sean Kelly among others invitees from social, educational and political life in the region. The member of CRIS team Joseph Coleman was one of the judges together with Committee Chairman and SFPC Harbour Master Mick Kennelly; Helen Downes, CEO of Shannon Chamber; Anne Morris, Skillnet Manager Limerick Chamber; and Lindsay Sharpe, Strategic Marketing Specialist, ESB Networks.


CRIS team Investigates historical WWI ship wrecks

15th January  2019

The CRIS team has investigated a series of unknown shipwrecks off the west coast of Ireland during the last ship-time operations. The survey cruise was carried out using the MRE ROV Etain, funded through SFI and piloted using University of Limerick’s advanced control software known as OceanRINGS. The ROV uses machine vision for autonomous controls unlocking a high of autonomy and enabling the scientists to operate in more difficult conditions such as high weather areas and deepwater shipwrecks of our coast. The ship time cruise had a number of scientific and technical goals, which included the mapping of unknown shipwrecks between 200m and 80m of water and the investigation of the habitats which have formed on these wrecks over the past 100+ years. In recent years, technical scuba divers have explored some of these wrecks located as deep as 150 metres. Invariably, the divers report that wrecks aggregate fish and in some cases provide a substrate for corals and other species of epifauna. As such, the wrecks act as artificial reefs and given the number of shipwrecks in Irish waters, may make an important contribution to maintaining coral and other species by providing refuge and stepping stones for colonisation. Profiting from favourable weather conditions at this time of year, the survey aboard the Research Vessel Celtic Explorer, successfully located and surveyed three unknown shipwreck sites between 80 and 200 metres of water. The shipwrecks, two of which are longer than 100 metres are believed to be a German U-boat, an Ocean Liner and an armed cargo vessel. A high definition TV survey of one of the wrecks revealed that intact parts of the ship were colonised by various colourful epifauna: anemones, solitary corals, oysters and brachiopods. The biggest surprise was finding a colony of the coral reef forming Lophelia pertusa, a stony coral species usually found below 500 metres or deeper in Irish waters. The colony was hanging from the apex of two plates where it was likely protected from fishing but still received a plentiful food supply.The discovery and high detailed survey of these shipwreck sites were possible for the first time through the technological innovations that the CRIS team have been trialling. The survey was carried out through the Marine Institute’s Shiptime Program, under the SFI research centre MaREI and in collaboration with scientists from National University of Ireland Galway and Ulster University, Coleraine.


Radio Wave Experimentation Survey

10th  December  2018

The member of our team Luke Robinson was on board of the RV Celtic Explorer from the 30th November to the 2nd December 2018, running the survey on Radio Wave Experimentation. Most wireless signals can’t go any further than line of sight, but the idea for this experiment was to use a weather condition known as the “evaporation duct” to bend the signals over the horizon. To find out more on these sea trials visit the blog that Luke wrote during the shiptime.


OCEANS2018 Charlston, USA (22-25th October)

2rd  November  2018

The OCEANS 2018 Charleston conference was held from 22-25th October, bringing together 1,500 of the world’s leading marine professionals to network, collaborate, and learn about cutting-edge research, innovations, technologies, and applications in the marine technology and engineering fields. Petar Trslic of CRIS took part in the conference Technical Sessions programme, presenting two papers: “Long-term, inspection class ROV deployment approach for remote monitoring and inspection” (main author Petar Trslic) and “Voxel map based collision detection for underwater manipulators” (main author Matija Rossi). Petar also used this occasion to promote the EXCELLABUST Marine Robotics database. The next OCEANS is in Marseilles from 17-20th of June 2019.


UL Open Days, 18-19th October 2018

22th  October 2018

The University of Limerick (UL) Open Days were held on the 18th and 19th October. We had more than 12,000 visitors to our campus, the biggest UL Open Days ever. The event is aimed at prospective students, their parents and teachers to learn about the UL experience, to become familiar with available courses, research facilities and to talk to the current students, lecturers and researchers. The CRIS team presented ongoing research activities including EXCELLABUST and MaREI projects as well as the UL-made inspection class remotely operated vehicle (ROV Éad) designed for operations in challenging conditions,. ROV Éad has an advanced human-machine interface (HMI) (mixed reality) for interaction with heterogeneous robotic vehicles and real-time reconstruction of subsea structures.   See you at the next Open days in January 2019.


EMRA '18 Workshop on EU-funded Marine Robotics and Applications

15th June 2018

The 5th Workshop on EU-funded Marine Robotics and Applications (EMRA '18 ) was organised and hosted by the Centre for Robotics & Intelligent Systems at the University of Limerick on 12th to 13th June 2018. Following the success of previous EMRA workshops, EMRA’18 brought together the researchers across ongoing EU-funded projects in the marine robotics area and provided a vibrant platform for sharing and discussing marine technological challenges and achievements. The event proved an excellent opportunity for networking, dissemination of ongoing work and cross-fertilisation of ideas between marine science and enabling technologies and applications.

90 researchers and industry representatives from 15 countries and 52 different institutions took part in EMRA'18. The programme included presentations on AUVs, ROV systems, underwater vision, positioning, acoustics, etc. Leading industry and research experts came from Fugro, FORUM Technologies, iXblue, Nortek, Seebyte, NTNU and Universities of Zagreb, Girona, Genova, Madrid, Marine Institute Galway, the Centre for National Research Italy and others. The single track, two-day workshop programme included a mix of presentations on EU-funded marine robotics projects, industry and end-users talks focusing on commercial applications. It also included two plenary sessions given by Kristin Pettersen, the leading scientist behind the snake robot project from NTNU, Norway and Fergal Brennan, an expert in underwater vision from Cathx Ocean Ltd, Ireland.

EMRA'18 had two additional training activities which ran before and after the main workshop:• Innovation management training, focusing on technology transfer, innovation, and entrepreneurship (11th of June).• On-site training for young researchers and end-users on state-of-the-art smart, work-class, UL-based, Remotely Operated Vehicle for marine renewable operations & interventions (ROV Étaín, supported by SFI Infrastructures). Space was provided for exhibits and demonstrations during coffee and lunchtime breaks.

The main features of the Ocean Rings+ have been demonstrated in both environments – virtual environment and real-world environment. The Ocean Rings+ is a suite of smart technologies for marine and sub-sea operations, developed by Dr Edin Omerdic, member of the CRIS team, and the live demonstration generated significant interest among the attendees.

EMRA'18 was organised within the framework of the EU-funded projects EXCELLABUST and EUMarineRobots, and supported by SFI, the Marine Institute and Failte Ireland. The workshop programme and photo gallery are available on the EMRA '18 site.The next EMRA will take place in Toulon from 15-16 May 2019 and will be hosted by IFREMAR. See you in France!.

Offshore deployment of CRIS underwater robot

15th May 2018

The CRIS team went out to test our newest robot in the waters off the coast of Ireland. The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Étaín was deployed from the ILV Granuaile during the 3 days ship-time.

The Marine Institute funded ship-time took place off the shores of Galway on 10th-12th of May. During the three day deployment, our team performed several tests with ROV Étaín.

ROV Étaín was funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and is operated by CRIS from our UL base at Limerick Docks. It is equipped with the UL-developed advanced control software (OceanRings), precision navigation and flight control, state-of-the-art robotic imaging and sonar systems and fully automated manipulator systems. During the ship-time we ensured the robot is ready to operate in challenging conditions to inspect, repair and maintain Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) facilities.

UL’s Centre for Robotics & Intelligence Systems (CRIS) is part of the (SFI supported) National Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI).


CRIS launches robot for use in Marine Renewable Energy sector

23rd April 2018

We unveiled a unique €2-million underwater robot at the docks in Limerick city today. The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Étaín was officially launched by Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD.

The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded ROV Étaín can operate in challenging wind, wave, and tidal conditions and will be used to inspect, repair and maintain Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) facilities.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State Pat Breen said: “Internationally, the offshore renewable energy sector is set to rapidly grow which will help to reduce carbon emissions and arrest climate change. Ireland has the best wind and wave resources in Europe and it is vital that as an island nation we invest and engage in research in the area of marine energy technology. Therefore, I’m delighted to today launch this ROV which will support Ireland’s growing offshore renewable energy sector.”

Researchers at UL’s Centre for Robotics & Intelligence Systems (CRIS) have enhanced a commercially available ROV system (Forum Energy Technology’s Comanche ROV) with UL-developed advanced control software (OceanRings), precision navigation and flight control, state-of-the-art robotic imaging and sonar systems and fully automated manipulator systems. These advanced features allow the robot to operate in the challenging environment of ocean renewable energy to support inspection, repair and maintenance operations.

Professor Daniel Toal, Director of the Centre for Robotics & Intelligence Systems at UL, explained: “Operation support in the MRE sector usually occurs on floating infrastructures so conditions are regularly beyond the capability and operating limits of commercial ROV technology. This means new smart ROV systems capability is necessary and that is what our team at UL has developed and launched today.”

UL’s Centre for Robotics & Intelligence Systems is part of the SFI funded National Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI)  The MaREI robotics lab at UL leads operations support engineering projects with industry partners such as Shannon Foynes Port Company, ESB, Ireland’s National Space Centre, SonarSim, Teledyne, Resolve Marine, CIL, IDS Monitoring, among others.

“The advanced robotics technology developed at UL will be crucial in supporting the burgeoning marine renewable energy sector. It will also play a significant role in reducing the cost of installing and maintaining large-scale offshore energy generation infrastructure. As the worldwide marine renewable energy sector grows, UL’s research contribution in this area will have even greater impact. I am particularly happy to see this advanced UL technology being developed, trialled and launched in Limerick City docks. The UL robotics base at the docks is just one of our commitments to grow and maintain strong links between the campus and the heart of Limerick city, with strategic partners like Shannon Foynes Port Company,” University of Limerick President, Dr Des Fitzgerald, stated.

EU Marine robots Kick-Off Meeting

22nd March 2018

The EU Marine Robots Kick Off Meeting was successfully completed in Porto, Portugal on the 1st and 2nd of March 2018. CRIS was represented by Dr. Daniel Toal, director, and Dr. Gerard Dooly. The meeting facilitated partner introductions and allowed a detailed examination of all project future activities and goals.

During the two day meeting, partners had the opportunity to discuss various topics, including project objectives, the governance structure, milestones, management processes and tools, project roadmap and partners responsibilities.

This meeting was a great chance to consolidate the consortium, project management key points and to map the road ahead!


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