Over 130 participants among experts, public administrations and private investors gathered in Biograd na Moru (Croatia) - from September 26 to Oct 3rd - for a first, successful, post-pandemic edition of Breaking the Surface (BTS), the international interdisciplinary workshop on robotics and maritime innovations organized by the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering (FER) of the University of Zagreb, where also the Interreg Italy-Croatia strategic project InnovaMare Project took part with its activities.
The Bts 6-day initiative is a totally unique event that enables InnovaMare partners and stakeholders to internationally showcase their achievements while engaging in a productive, on the field, exchange of knowledge.
Great lectures, international panel discussions, robotics demos and tutorials took place over the workshop which has been widely attended by Croatians and Italians researchers, as well as experts from all over the world willing at combining exploratory work and innovative experiences to strengthen the fight against pollution in the Adriatic Sea.
After the presentation of the strategic InnovaMare Project, on September 29, made by the project coordinator, Mateo Ivanac, from the Croatian Chamber of the Economy, the leading project partner, a general overview of the project results in terms of underwater robots innovations and high-tech sensors has been given by CNR (Italian National Research Council) researcher Angelo Odetti and Massimo Caccia and Nikola Mišković and Fausto Ferreira from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb.
On the same day, in the afternoon the Croatian Chamber of Economy organized a press visit aimed at promoting and showcasing to enlarged public some of the most promising technological solutions to detect, monitor and counter maritime pollution.
Among the BTS scheduled events, over 25 in depth lectures and 7 tutorials maritime innovations related (in marine robotics, maritime archaeology, marine biology), including talks and demos by partners and stakeholders to allow participants to get a first-hand knowledge on the latest in scientific results, on technological achievements, as well as hands-on experience in working with complex and modern underwater systems, such as in the case of the 6 vehicles demonstrated.
In particular, on September 27 Croatian Statim Company held the demo “Plurato Sailfin – Electric Hydrofoil Surf Board” focused on development of electric hydrofoil board. It has been followed by a talk, on September 28, about “Multidisciplinary applications of robotic solutions in shallow coastal environments” held by CNR-ISMAR researchers Francesca De Pascalis and Fantina Madricardo, aiming at highlighting how todays’ challenge to have clean seas can be encountered by robotic solutions.
On 30 September, a presentation of innovative solutions in underwater robotics and sensors took place, a side event addressed to public institutions and other institutions, for whom those solutions and technologies enable growth, development, competitiveness and technological leadership in the field of blue economy and innovative blue technologies.
On October 1, the important demonstration session "Citizen engagement: learning by imitation in marine robotics" took place focusing on how the newly implemented “SWAMP Robot” might learn from human beings. BTS participants have been concretely involved in a maritime experience and asked to “teach” Swamp, an autonomous light surface vehicle, to navigate autonomously by performing tasks at their place.
Over 70 participants took specifically part in the project activities in Bts, namely two talks, one demo, one side event with end-users, one press visit and one steering committee.
BTS also hosted several side events, such as IEEE OES UNIZG Student Branch Chapter presentation, Women in Blue, social events (welcome reception, karaoke party, closing ceremony, gala dinner, field trip).