Oil, gas, manganese nodules, methane hydrates, and massive sulfides are a few of the buzzwords that pose enormous challenges for marine technology, but which may also represent answers to the impending shortages of fossil energy and rare metal reserves. Accessing the ever-increasing water depths (for example, manganese nodules in up to 5,000 m water depth) and the inhospitable marine regions (e.g., the Arctic) creates special demands on the instruments and systems.
For the exploitation of marine resources and operations at great water depths, the complex systems have to be especially capable of efficient programmed mobility and navigation, possess multiple sensors and sensitive manipulation capabilities as well as intuitive user interaction and monitored autonomy. These new, and in part not yet even clearly definable system characteristics in particular, which are necessary to meet the demands of sustainable and ecological recovery of marine resources from great depths, offer a chance for Germany, with its great potential in automation technology and robotics, to expand its systems expertise and capture a significant portion of this future market. This is only possible through close cooperation between research institutes and industrial entities. Together, industry and research in Germany encompass the necessary technological and scientific expertise, and represent an excellent starting point for future business enterprises.