Current Projects

New research project SeaClear launched

© Stefan Sosnowski, TU Munich

Today's oceans contain 26-66 million tons of waste, with approximately 94% located on the seafloor. So far, collection efforts have focused mostly on surface waste, with only a few local efforts to gather underwater waste, always involving human divers. No solution exists that exploits autonomous robots for underwater litter collection. A team of researchers in a consortium of eight European partners from Germany, the Netherlands, Croatia, France, and Romania, are now working on the development of autonomous robots for underwater littler collection. The objective of SeaClear - acronym for “SEarch, identificAtion, and Collection of marine LittEr with Autonomous Robots” - is to operate the robots autonomously, without remote human intervention. The consortium plans novel developments in debris mapping, classification, and robot control. When fully operational, the SeaClear system aims to detect and classify underwater litter with 80% success rate, and to collect it with a 90% success rate.



EmissionSEA - Determination und reduction of CO2 emissions from ships

© Jakota Cruise Systems/ Fleetmon

The EU is collecting all data that can contribute to measurably reducing emissions from shipping in a novel system for monitoring, reporting and verification, the so-called MRV (Monitoring, Reporting,
Verification)-system. For each individual ship a specific Monitoring Plan had to be submitted to an independent verifier as early as 2017. And since January 1, 2018, shipowners have been obliged
to report the CO2-emissions of their ships during their voyages to and from the EU and within European waters. Not only the fuel consumption of the main engine, but also the consumption of auxiliary
equipment, hot water preparation etc. must be taken into account. The first emission reports had to be submitted to the EU by April 30, 2019. This is not an easy task for companies, as there are still no reliable methods for determining CO2-emissions. The data sources to be used are documents on fuel deliveries, estimates of fuel consumption on board, flow measurements or direct CO2-emission measurements. In order to support shipping companies in this task, the CML together with the Wismar University of Applied Sciences, the JAKOTA Design Group, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the project manager JAKOTA Cruise Systems is developing a software prototype for calculating CO2-emissions. The AIS (Automatic Identification System) data of the ships are used as well as information from the weather service to derive fuel consumption and emissions from speed and external influences. The results can then serve as a reference for the shipping companies‘ calculations. EmissionSEA is funded by the BMVI over a duration of three years.


ARTUS - Support for the Sea Rescue

© DGzRS/ Thomas Steuer

The CML is part of a project funded by the BMBF which is developing an automatic transcription solution for maritime radio traffic under the direction of the DGzRS. With the help of this technology, rescue workers are provided with the contents of maritime radio messages in writing and simultaneously linked with sender information. The CML creates the basis for the neural network for speech recognition and supports transmitter localisation.


SCIPPER: Shipping Contributions to Inland Pollution Push for the Enforcement of Regulations


As early as 1997, the International Maritime Organization IMO adopted the MARPOL Annex VI (MARPOL: International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships), which determines the reduction of permissible emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter in ship exhaust gases. From the beginning of 2020, the global reduction of fuel sulfur content to 0.5% will take effect, in order to significantly reduce the air and climate impact of shipping.

This development presents shipping companies with major technical and economic challenges. And authorities and administrations have the task of monitoring the implementation. As there are no routines yet for these new tasks, 17 European partners from science and research, industry and administration as well as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have joined forces to form a research consortium: SCIPPER is the name of the project that aims to use state-of-the-art and forward-looking measurement techniques to monitor ship emissions during normal operation. Sniffers, satellites and drones are used as well as on-board systems to determine fuel consumption and emissions and measurements on land. In the project, the CML is developing a low-cost onboard sensor system for measuring ship emissions as well as an environmental shipping monitoring center in order to monitor ship emissions and compliance targeting.
SCIPPER's objectives are to demonstrate the performance and capacity of various techniques to monitor ship emissions and to assess the impact of ship emissions on air quality. The results should enable the authorities to determine the most effective tool for identifying emissions and thus determine the success of the implementation.  
Five major European ports, including the Port of Hamburg, will be involved in the measurement campaigns. A mirror activity in Asia will be used to assess the results achieved in the EU.

Terminal planning by ISI-Plan - coupling of layout planning and simulation

© ISI Plan

Layout planning and logistics simulation have so far been used separately for the development and planning of logistics nodes. Layout planning software is characterized by an intuitive and cooperative application, but only allows static considerations. Simulation software, on the other hand, has the advantage that it allows the analysis of dynamic processes, but is less intuitive to use.

The goal of ISI-Plan is to combine both tools and thus to use the strengths of the tools, to eliminate the weaknesses and to realize synergy effects (e.g. reduction of the modeling time for the simulation model). A solution is to be developed that enables static layouts, created on a touch-sensitive and intuitive planning table, to be transferred directly into a functional dynamic simulation model with stored logistics strategies. In particular, these stored strategies are the main pillar of integration, as they represent the missing link between layout planning and simulation. The project has a duration of three years, from September 2017 to August 2020. Learn more about ISI-Plan here

Competitive advantage for terminals in sea and inland ports thanks to augmented reality - InnoPortAR

© Wolfgang Buchholz -

Augmented Reality (AR) stands for the provision of supplementary information to a work assignment, e.g. in the field of vision of data glasses. In recent years, AR has simplified and improved conventional work processes and created new applications. In order to transfer this technology to the complex processes in trimodal terminals, the project „InnoPortAR - Innovative Fields of Application for Augmented Reality in Inland and Seaports“ coordinated by Duisburger Hafen AG has been launched at the CML. Together with the project partners Fraunhofer IML, Materna AG and Materna TMT as well as the associated project partners Haeger & Schmidt, CTD Dortmund and Eurogate Technical Services GmbH, practical tests will show which workflows can be supported in inland and seaports by the use of AR. The project is funded by the BMVI within the framework of the IHATEC research programme over a period of three years. The AR applications are to be tested in various environments, for example in container handling in trimodal terminals, in maintenance and repair as well as in cargo securing. Through these solution approaches, „InnoPortAR“ will contribute, among other things, to improving human-machine interaction through the targeted provision of relevant information. The CML is especially involved in the requirements analysis, the transferability of project results as well as the scientific exploitation. Concrete InnoPortAR innovations will be developed for the „maintenance and repair of handling equipment and port infrastructure“. The implementation concept for a seaport operation will be implemented exemplarily with the project partner Eurogate Technical Services GmbH. 

RoboVaaS - Robotic Vessels as-a-Service

© RoboVaaS

Smaller unmanned surface and underwater vessels (USV or UUV) are already state of the art today, although up to now they have primarily operated separately from shipping. The project 'Robotic Vessels as-a-Service' (RoboVaaS) aims to make maritime operations in coastal waters safer by integrating and networking smaller USV and UUV efficiently and to offer new services for shipping. The system is supported by networked vehicles with special sensors, a reliable data transmission cloud network for surface and underwater communication, a monitoring station and a web-based real-time user interface. Wherever possible, autonomous ship technology will be used, but some operations will continue to involve human control by e.g. remote-controlled vehicles. Applications include anti-grounding and inspection services or emission and bathymetry measurements.

During the three-year project period, a live data-based USV grounding avoidance service, a hull UUV inspection service and an automated USV/UUV data collection service for port areas will be developed. In addition to the definition services, a communication network with a web-based real-time interface will be developed and tested in the port environment. The disruptive concept has the potential to improve maritime and human safety, increase the flexibility and accessibility of European waterways and reduce costs for a wide range of maritime stakeholders.

RoboVaaS is funded by the MarTERA partners Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), Irish Marine Institute (MI) and the European Union.

This project is funded by German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) and Irish Marine Institute (MI) and co-funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under  the framework of ERA-NET Cofund MarTERA (Maritime and Marine Technologies for a new Era).

AIRCOAT – A biomimetic hull coating to reduce ship drag


AIRCOAT (Air Induced friction Reducing ship COATing) is a three-year project that started on May 2018 and received funding from the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 framework. The project aims at developing a passive air lubrication technology inspired by the Salvinia effect. Applying the biomimetic AIRCOAT technology to ship-hull surfaces will produce a thin permanent air layer when submerged in water. This will reduce the overall frictional resistance, while acting as a physical barrier between water and the hull surface. In addition to reducing energy consumption, the air barrier will inhibit the attachment of maritime organisms (biofouling) and dampen acoustic emissions.

An interdisciplinary team of ten European partners develops the AIRCOAT prototype, which will be validated by experimental and numerical methods and demonstrated in operational environments. Major advantages of AIRCOAT to existing technologies is that the ship hull is passively lubricated and that the refit technology would be immediately applicable to the whole fleet. Project Coordinator Johannes Oeffner from the Fraunhofer CML comments: “AIRCOAT has a high potential to become a ground-breaking technology to increase energy efficiency and reduce ship emissions in the future.”

The Fraunhofer CML coordinates the project and bridges the gap between research and industry to ensure the holistic AIRCOAT approach. CML contributes to optimising the AIRCOAT surface structure via experimental and numerical methods and analyse results allowing transferring it to larger scales and application to real ships. Besides developing a method to quantify and monitor the air layer, CML will further be part of assessing the economic and environmental impact of AIRCOAT.

Visit the official homepage at and follow AIRCOAT via Twitter or LinkedIn to keep up with the latest news. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 764553.



FernSAMS - safe and optimized port manoeuvres with remote-controlled tugboats

© Fraunhofer CML

FernSAMS is the german name for the „use of remote-controlled tugs in handling manoeuvres of large ships“. Together with five other partners under the coordinator Voith, CML launched a project funded by the BMWi (german Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy), whose aim is to design a remote-controlled tug and all the components required for its operation. These range from automated line handover to communication and training programs. The task of CML is to develop and validate the nautical assistance system. The assistance system builds the interface to the people involved in the manoeuvres. The requirements for the system will be analysed and determined based on typical manoeuvring situations. The tug‘s remote control is designed as an innovative control
console. The use of this console will be tested and optimized at the CML by means of extensive simulations. At a later stage of the project, the remote control system will be used from a real harbour tugboat. The successful implementation of the project is expected to increase the efficiency of manoeuvres, reduce time and energy consumption and increase the safety of manoeuvres. The project also holds potential in terms of further development into a (partially) autonomous system. The scientists at CML are therefore delighted to receive funding: “The project conducts previous CML research work and enables us to further expand our expertise in the development and testing of autonomous technologies,“ says Laura Walther, project manager at CML.