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Description of the contribution of MARUM

Identifying synergies and collaborating on focused activities – these are the main goals of the ROBEX project where groups from deep sea and space sciences come together. ROBEX stands for "Robotics in extreme Environments" and that is definetely describing the environmental conditions that both communities are facing. The Helmholtz Association is funding this project as part of their HGF Alliance programm where the funding period spans a time period from 2012 to 2017. More details on the structure of the project can be found under www.robex-allianz.de.

For many years MARUM has been strongly been engaged in marine operations and development work which is reflected in the spectrum of activities that are currently carried out. Specifically in the field of underwater platforms, video technology, acoustic seafloor surveys a specific expertise has been built up in those years. This knowledge perfectly complements the expertise that has evolved in space sciences where robotics often stands for intelligent vehicle and mission control or advanced manipulation.

Afterall, all these activities have to lead to some practical application in ocean science field work. Accordingly, all technical development tasks either in ROBEX or in other technical projects are strongly linked to MARUM’s marine geosciences focal areas.

Please contact

Dr. Christoph Waldmann


+49 421 218-65606


+49 421 218-65607



MARUM I, 1470

Scientific challenges

MARUM is involved in the investigations of processes in the marine environment that are driven by geological instances.

Cross-linking the actvities on different levels also spurred the interaction of scientists from both domain. The main fields where this takes place are seismics and the investigations of processes inside the sediment (lunar or deep sea). MARUM has built up an expertise in habitat mapping in the area of seepage processes. Specific video image processing assists in classifying the recorded structures which then is made available through a dedicated portal (vidlib.marum.de).
The deep-sea science community is anxious to prove the utilization of ROBEX developments in a wide range of settings from the Gotland basin in the Baltic Sea to the Southern Ocean, the Arctic and even the International Space Station. The demomissions that are planned for 2017 will show the results in a cumulated form.


Hybrid ROV

The use of teleoperation and autonomy are essential for deep-space and space applications. In both areas a large part of the mission scenarios have limited access, harsh environment and are aiming for unknown terrain. Thus the combination of teleoperation with autonomy is the most convenient way of control, which is already implemented to some extends in planetary space missions. The application of the know-how for deep-sea missions is a good use of synergies within ROBEX.

Underwater Vision


Platform Developments

Moth glider test

MOTH glider tests with launch pad in the University of Bremen pool (ROBEX, August 2015)

ROBEX is offering a unique opportunity to start a sustained cooperation between deep sea and aeronautical domains to investigate innovative mobility concepts based on the idea of flight. The basic approach towards underwater and atmospheric flight are well known and building up on that, various hullforms and propulsion principles can be explored. Within ROBEX a blended wing design for a new approach to underwater gliding has been chosen that combined with a buoyancy engine propulsion shall be coalesced to reach for a broader applicability of those technology. The issue of limited payload capacity of legacy glider systems shall be addressed with a new concept.
A number of pool tests had been carried out to investigate the flight behaviour of a particular blended wing design and compare the collected information with modelling results. This then forms the base for a redesign that optimizes the energy efficiency whilst preserving the significant higher payload capacity.

Combining the capabilities of an underwater glider with the option of continously tracking the platform from a surface platform offers unique opportunities for testing and operation.

Tracking the underwater glider with a WAVEGLIDER offers new opportunities for the planned operation

Preparation of tank test of the MOTH glider at MARUM facilities

The WAVEGLIDER that has been procured by MARUM in 2014 as part of ROBEX had undergone already 4 missions where in one case a towed body was used to passively detect acoustic signals. The WAVEGLIDER proved to be a robust and reliable platform for that purpose.