SmartBot - RoboShip

About SmartBot

Robots that are equipped with several sensors (multisensor robots) are called SmartBots. Sensorsystem technology and ICT enable robots to operate autonomously and on more complex tasks. Robots become smarter and therefor can be applied in more areas than ever before. Robots will become a key success factor when it comes to applications in industrial, agricultural or other economic sectors.

Multi-sensor Robot Platforms

SmartBot is a cross-border collaboration between 24 different partners from Germany and the Netherlands. The aim is to develop multi sensor robot platforms for maritime, agricultural and industry applications. The SmartBot project strengthens the collaboration between different parties in both economical and technological ways. The project also helps create a global knowledge hotspot on sensorrobotics in the border-region of Germany and the Netherlands.

The SmartBot project consists of three sub projects:

  • Roboship (shipping industry): an autonomous intelligent robot for the inspection and repair of ballast water tanks of ships.
  • Sinbot (industry): a pilot environment for intelligent use of industrial robotics in a production environment. The first application will be focused on the production of composite material for the transport sector.
  • AgroBot (agriculture): (semi) autonomous robot systems operating in dynamical environments. These systems will be able to work on complex tasks without damaging the environment (for example a robot that recognizes and pulls out the weeds).


Shipping industry is extremely competitive. European warfs stay ahead of the international competition by specialization in building for instance cruise ships, offshore equipment and –ships and ship with high added value. These warfs will have to lower their production costs. They can standardize components, processes an d design and automize a great share of their production process. The Meyer Werft in Papenburg is an example of a warf with a leading position in the worldmarket for cruise ships, because they have been able to do this.


Despite of all the innovations in the shipping industry there are still many processes that need to be carried out by hand, such as welding, welding inspection, cleaning, coating and inspection of the ballast watertanks. These tanks are used to stabilize a ship. They are constructed in a way that it is hard for people to access them. It is even very difficult to have robots work in them.

So far we have been unable to automize the maintenance of balastwatertanks. The purpose of RoboShip is to develop an intelligent multi-sensor robotsystem for inspection and maintenance of the waterballasttanks in ships such as the ones being built at the Meyer Werft.


Project lead

no picture available Stefano Stramigioli