EU to implement connected underwater tech to study and protect oceans

The EU has ambitious plans for the Internet of Underwater Things.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Representational image of our oceans.jpg
Representational image of our oceans.


The European Commission is introducing a new program called the Technology Enabler for Internet of Underwater Things Applications (TEUTA) that will seek to protect our precious oceans through advanced technology.

This is according to a statement by the organization published on Wednesday.

“A lot of funding has been provided to companies and institutions exploring space, but we have oceans around us that we have not explored,” said Vladimir Djapic, innovation associate at the EU-funded TEUTA project.

To tackle this issue, the EU plans to use the Internet of Underwater Things, or IoUT, a network of smart, interconnected sensors and devices to make communicating in the sea easier.

This implementation could have many useful and varied applications.

“For example, a diver working in underwater construction can send a message to a supervisor and request additional help or tools or similar,” said Djapic.

Other examples offered by the European Commision were scientists being able to remotely turn on a water-quality measuring device installed on the seabed from their labs and archaeologists using the technology to help protect vulnerable underwater sites with intruder-detection technology installed in remote locations.

Opportunities for underwater agriculture or mining could also be explored.

Djapic added that TEUTA’s work in underwater communication technologies needs to be marketed to ensure the new options are used more widely.

‘It all needs to be analyzed,’ he said. ‘Our technology enables the measuring of environmental parameters.’

Meanwhile, the EU is also funding the New Approach to Underwater Technologies for Innovative, Low-cost Ocean Observation (NAUTILOS) project that is set to gather previously inaccessible information on underwater activity and improve our understanding of physical, chemical and biological changes in oceans.

“Our proposal set out to fill a gap in the observation of oceans,” said in the statement Gabriele Pieri of the Rome-based National Research Council which runs the project.

 ‘They are the largest habitats on Earth, but the least observed ones because of the difficulties in on-site observation and the costs of monitoring.’

So far, NAUTILOS sensors can be used to measure levels of chlorophyll-A and dissolved oxygen in the water to better understand water quality. They can also be used to investigate the presence of microplastics, expanding the understanding of the impact of human-generated pollution on the oceans.

The work is crucial as 70 percent of the Earth is covered by oceans and more than four-fifths of them have never been mapped, explored or even seen by humans.