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Oman establishes innovation center for Liquid Robotics’ autonomous vessel

The oil-rich Gulf Arab state of Oman has established an innovation center built around the Wave Glider, a small, solar-powered autonomous sea-going vessel mainly used for research developed by Liquid Robotics, a Boeing company. 

The Research Council of Oman says its Wave Glider Hub at Innovation Park Muscat is the first of its kind in the region, and is designed to serve as a center of excellence for Wave Glider operations.

It adds that the facility is tooled with necessary equipment to support maintenance, training and piloting of Wave Glider fleets, both in Oman and within the region.

The Wave Glider Hub is set to support a wide variety of missions for environmental and maritime services, ranging from marine environmental monitoring and assessment to maritime surveillance and a variety of offshore commercial, security and defense applications.

This investment is in support of TRC’s mission to create an innovation ecosystem in Oman, in particular advancing the goal of identifying and providing innovative and cost-effective solutions in the areas of national priorities, leading to sustainable development.

Using the Wave Glider Hub, TRC aims to spearhead the national endeavors of developing marine sector and making inroads to march toward a blue economy for the Sultanate.

Omar Said Awadh Al Abri, program director at The Research Council, says: “Oman is a sea-going nation situated at the crossroads of the famous maritime trade routes and flanked by three water bodies including the Sea of Oman, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean with a coastline of 3,165 km stretching from the Strait of Hormuz in the north to the Indian Ocean coasts in the south.

“An effective way to take advantage of the prestigious location of Oman is to bridge the gap between science and market needs, and to use cutting-edge research and innovation developments like the Wave Glider to help develop new competencies and new economic sectors. That’s what TRC aims to achieve through the Wave Glider Hub.”

Additionally, Petroleum Development Oman has approved and certified the Wave Glider as “a reliable national technology asset”, following a successful demonstration in Muscat, Oman in November 2019.

Several additional milestones along the way led to this investment in the center of excellence. The first successful Wave Glider trial in Oman took place in Quriyat in July 2018.

This mission was notable for the fact that the mission took place off the world’s hottest coast, where the highest low temperatures at night were recorded around 42°C.

Despite the extreme conditions, the Wave Glider worked very reliably. Following that, a second mission was successfully completed in Southern Oman in December 2018, in Salalah.

As part of this ongoing effort to advance the adoption of autonomous systems and other innovative technologies in the region, the Wave Glider was showcased at the International Gas Research Conference in Muscat, Oman in February 2020, in collaboration with the Oman LNG.

PDO will also be showcasing the Wave Glider at the COMEX 2020 exhibition in Muscat later this year.

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