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ROBOTS PAVE THE WAY FOR DRONES AND AUTONOMOUS SHIPPING IN DENMARK'S FUNEN



Emerging industries such as autonomous shipping and drones are taking root on Funen Island, Denmark.


Since 2017, the drone industry has increased by 150% and in southern Funen, the development of autonomous shipping has gained momentum. New analysis from Erhvervshus Fyn shows that the robot environment creates great synergies for the new emerging industries, which are strong in relation to creating significant growth and development on Funen in the coming years.


New figures and a mapping of Funen's strengths positions show that emerging industries such as autonomous shipping and drones are developing and growing, and that Funen is particularly well placed to accelerate the long-term development of these more advanced robots that can operate on land, at sea and in the air.


New figures and a mapping of Funen's strengths positions show that emerging industries such as autonomous shipping and drones are developing and growing.

"Across its municipalities, activities, education and companies, Funen is particularly strong when it comes to supporting the development of the more advanced robots and companies of the future in these areas," says Kenneth Muhs, chairman of Erhvervshus Fyn. "We see that the strong robot environment created on Funen not only benefits the robot industry alone, but that it creates some valuable benefits and synergies for emerging areas such as drones and the maritime sector, where work is being done to develop green and autonomous coastal shipping."


Autonomy in smaller ships is still in the very early development, but startups and established shipbuilders are beginning to show promising test results within maritime autonomy in southern Funen.


"The analysis shows that Funen has a distinct position of strength within the maritime area with a unique knowledge and educational environment around SIMAC, Marstal Maritime School and Blue SDU, the many shipyards and ports, the maritime entrepreneurial environment on South Funen in combination with more than 250 maritime companies on Funen, of which a small part with a dedicated focus on autonomous shipping, is starting to show concrete test results. Funen is enriched with knowledge and companies within the maritime technologies. At the same time, the South Funen archipelago has a unique geography in relation to testing unmanned coastal shipping. By combining the two, we see great opportunities to strengthen the development of more green and autonomous transport and logistics opportunities, such as island ferries to the Danish islands," says Sverre Lenbroch, CEO of MARLOG, Denmark's cluster for the maritime industry and logistics. "The experience with auto-nomous shipping is still sparse, which is why it is important that we get areas where companies and knowledge institutions in collaboration can test and demonstrate in tailor-made and safe environments. And here Funen has proven its dedicated competencies, capacity and support."


"Drones make a difference for many industries; from inspection, agriculture, health, satellite and the wind industry. If this trend continues, we look forward to drone technology becoming a game-changer for a wide range of industries in the future." - Mikkel Christoffersen, CEO of Odense Robotics

Sharing tech, education and skills

Although it may seem far from robots to self-sailing ships, the analysis shows that there is great coherence and synergies between the areas.


"One could say that robots and autonomous systems have a technology community and share labor market. In this way, understanding that the research and know-how we have built up in robots and drones can be used in other applications, such as self-propelled robots. This is an absolutely great advantage in technology development, which is complex and takes time," says Henrik Bindslev, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark and chairman of the UAS Drone Test Center. "And the same goes for education and labor. If you have a degree in robot technology, it is an advantage to work with drones and autonomous systems and vice versa. For companies, this means a larger brain pool and a more skilled workforce."


Another area that is growing out of the robots is the drone area, which in recent years has developed significantly on Funen. Through the international drone test center UAS Denmark test center in HCA Airport, SDU's drone center, the Danish Technological Institute and a well-functioning collaboration with the robot cluster, the companies have had wide access to the right development opportunities and gained the necessary knowledge, skills and network. The drone industry on Funen has grown by 150% since 2017 and counts more than 150 jobs today.


"The drone industry is really picking up speed and there is no doubt that the strong foundation of research and education, companies, investors and public support from the robot environment here is a decisive factor," says Mikkel Christoffersen, CEO of Odense Robotics. "More and more drone entrepreneurs are applying to our incubator process and when they leave, it often does not take long before they achieve commercial success. Drones make a difference for many industries; from inspection, agriculture, health, satellite and the wind industry. If this trend continues, we look forward to drone technology becoming a game-changer for a wide range of industries in the future."


Until the first quarter of 2022, a group consisting of Erhvervshus Fyn, SDU, Teknologisk Institut, UAS Dronetestcenter, MARLOG, Odense Robotics, SIMAC, Odense, Nordfyn, Ærø, Svendborg, Fåborg-Midtfyn municipalities will work together to create a joint partnership that will strengthen the development and test opportunities of robots, drones and autonomous shipping on Funen.


Erhvervshus Fyn

At Erhvervshus Fyn we have a vision! We want to help create sustainable growth in competitive, innovative Funen companies. Because we believe that when Funen companies are doing well, Funen is doing well. That is why we at Erhvervshus Fyn work to help Funen companies strengthen their competitiveness and sustainable development. We are restarting Funen - where there is a need. And we secure the future and create fertile ground for new business lighthouses and a sustainable tourist destination. www.ehfyn.dk