A joint project consisting of IDEA Co., Ltd., Toda Corporation, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, and Kyushu Institute of Technology has been selected for the "Autonomous Unmanned Vehicle (AUV) Utilization Demonstration Project" run by the Cabinet Office, National Ocean Policy Promotion Secretariat.

 The name of the demonstration test that was adopted was "Demonstration Test to Realize Inspection of Floating Offshore Wind Power Plants Using AUVs." An AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) is a robot that can navigate underwater fully automatically, judging the situation on its own, without the need for remote operation by humans.

 Although Japan has advanced technology for AUVs, Europe and the United States have been ahead in industrialization. The "Strategy for the Social Implementation of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs)" decided by the government's Headquarters for Ocean Policy in December 2023 indicates that the government will take the lead in working in collaboration with the public and private sectors to make it possible to expand AUVs overseas by 12.

 The demonstration test by the joint project of IDEA Co., Ltd., Toda Corporation, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, and Kyushu Institute of Technology will be the first step in sophisticating underwater inspection technology for floating facilities, which is essential for the spread of offshore wind power generation business and its expansion into EEZs (exclusive economic zones). In the test, the hovering AUV "YOUZAN" of IDEA Co., Ltd. (lead project participant) will be used to conduct an underwater visual inspection of the spar-type floating facility "Haenkaze" currently in operation in Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture, and demonstrate the applicability of the AUV position control system, etc.

 In the future, the results of this demonstration test will be used to accelerate the development of AUVs that can be used for underwater inspection of floating offshore wind power facilities, with the aim of becoming a commercial underwater maintenance and inspection service provider by 2030.

 The public solicitation requirements for this demonstration project include the optional requirement that "collaborate with higher education institutions such as graduate schools, universities, and technical colleges, and involve students from the perspective of human resource development." Of the four adopted projects, two include higher education institutions: the joint implementation of IDEA Co., Ltd., Toda Corporation, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, and Kyushu Institute of Technology, and the joint implementation of Cosmo Eco Power Co., Ltd., Nagasaki University, and Eight Japan Technology Development Co., Ltd.

Reference: Kyushu Institute of Technology selected for the Autonomous Unmanned Vehicle (AUV) Utilization Demonstration Project run by the Cabinet Secretariat's National Ocean Policy Promotion Office

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