A small autonomous submarine-like craft is being developed by an ESA-based start-up company in Portugal to monitor water quality, map and perform underwater inspections, combining its own measurements with satellite imagery.
In 2015 Matereo Space began the Undersee project to build on its knowhow on collecting and using satellite information, fusing satellite data with local measurements and building hydrodynamic models to create an easy-to-deploy vehicle that would simplify and reduce the cost of underwater operations.
A multisensor-fusion system will combine the collected data with satellite multispectral images, and the clients will have access to the output in real time over the Internet. The system will use data from ESA's Sentinels satellites and accurate positioning via satnav receivers.
The entrepreneurial team of specialists is now working to get the first prototype ready for a pilot test at the end of this month.
The Undersee project was recently awarded the Blue Revelation Diploma I Excellens Mare Awards 2017, created by the accounting firm PwC Portugal and the Portuguese investment bank BPI to highlight innovation and entrepreneurship projects with potential for developing sea activities.
The company is based at ESA’s Business Incubation Centre Portugal, receiving technical and business advice.