Project Description

Project Goals:

There are approximately 26 to 66 million tons of trash in the oceans. Over 90 percent of this lies on the seabed. To date, underwater waste has only been collected by divers, making the effort and costs involved very high. Autonomous processes do not yet exist. In SeaClear, the CML is working with project partners to develop a robotic solution that autonomously detects, classifies and collects underwater waste with a success rate of 80 percent.


The development and testing of a hardware and software system consisting of unmanned underwater, surface and aerial vehicles. For this purpose, new methods in waste mapping, classification and robot control are applied. The autonomous robots are networked with each other and together, supported by aerial drones, search for litter in the sea. The seafloor pollution thus detected is mapped. The underwater robots collect the waste, using special sensors to distinguish between trash and marine vegetation, for example.

Role of the CML in SeaClear: 

Autonomous above- and underwater vehicles represent an ever-growing field of research at the CML. The central tasks of the CML are the technical coordination and integration of the overall system. In this area of responsibility, the hardware and software infrastructure as well as the interfaces for data exchange between the robot vehicles and a land control centre are designed and implemented.

Project Consortium:

A research team of eight partners from Germany, the Netherlands, Croatia, France and Romania.