Skip to main content
Maritime Forum

Study on ocean observation technology

to provide input to impact assessment for ocean observation - started 31 August 2020 and will finish 6 months later


Objective of the assignment

The general objective of this assignment is:

To determine how new technologies can increase effectiveness and efficiency of sensors and platforms used for EU’s ocean observation efforts.

There are four specific objectives:

  1. To summarise the present state of development of sensors and platforms for ocean observation.

Under this specific objective a list will be established with ocean sensors and platforms. The list will be in tabular form and will use a common nomenclature and classification. If results are approximate, a median value will be estimated and explained. The list will be machine readable and contain the following items per category (sensors and platforms).

  • For sensors and platforms the following variables will be listed: the owner and manufacturer, the technology readiness level (TRL), the effort that has gone into its development (time and money), price, the market in terms of volume and geographical coverage, the depth at which it can operate, power requirements.
  • For sensors the following variables will be listed: the parameter measured, the frequency of measurement, the maintenance requirements (time interval and costs).
  • For sensors the trends will be identified by type op sensor (physics, biology etc.).
  • For platforms the following variables will be listed: the type of propulsion, the autonomy (including range and speed), communication means, payload requirements (weight, power), maintenance requirements (time intervals, costs), intended market and type of sensors that have been used on the platform.
  1. To examine how the ocean observation market operates.

Under this specific objective the marketing of the technology mentioned under objective 1 will be examined. The following questions will be answered:

  • What is the size of the current market?
  • Is the technology:
    • Primarily used by private or public sectors?
    • Used outside its country of origin?
    • Operated by the supplier or bought or leased from them?
    • Primarily used by the technology owner?
  • Is there an open market for equipment or services based on competitive tendering?
  1. To investigate how enterprises offering ocean observation equipment and services finance their business.

Under this objective the financing of the development and commercialisation of the technologies mentioned under objective 1 will be examined - e.g. government grants, venture capital, large corporations, private foundations. The analysis will highlight any differences between practices in the United States and Europe and the reasons for these differences. In case of the use of defence budget, this will be investigated.

  1. To identify challenges and opportunities for a more widespread introduction of the new technologies for ocean observation in the EU.

Under this objective public and private efforts made to stimulate and accelerate development and deployment of new observation technology will be evaluated on how well these have worked. The analysis includes circumstantiated proposals for further measures that could be taken up by the EU and national governments. These can include support to research, investment, definition of standards and the use of public procurement.

Scope of the Assignment

The study aims to cover all sensors and platforms manufactured or deployed in the European Union, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Both fixed and movable platforms will be considered, with the exception of ships.

The study will also take into account observation technologies that are developed and deployed by research institutions and not commercialised.

The study will focus solely on in-situ monitoring.