Southampton will once again become the centre of the global ocean technology industry, as international visitors flock in their thousands to Ocean Business 2017; the world’s largest ocean technology taking place this year. This event will coincide with the launch of some of the most exciting sea technology devices yet which include robotic swimming snakes designed for subsea maintenance; high definition underwater drones; and optical reconstruction systems delivering underwater seascapes to virtual reality devices. 


Taking place from Tuesday 4 to Thursday 6 April at Southampton’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the city will receive a small boost to its economy, with bars, restaurants and hotels filled with over 5000 of the show’s visitors coming in from 65 countries around the world – a truly international event.


Southampton as a Global Maritime City

Versha Carter, Group Director for Ocean Business, comments:  “With the Solent’s world-renowned marine and maritime strengths, Southampton is the perfect setting to host this ocean technology exhibition that attract 350 of the world’s top ocean technology companies to the show.   These companies are high tech companies developing products and solutions for working in extreme ocean environments and together are enabling scientists and explorers to go in to deeper parts of the ocean that have never before been explored.


62% of these exhibiting companies are from outside of the UK

Our exhibitors enjoy coming to Southampton due to the strong maritime and naval history of the region.  Some of them have even set up remote offices recognizing that Southampton is a city well suited for supporting maritime and ocean related businesses and acting as a gateway into Europe.

The shows organisers believe this year’s Ocean Business will be one of the most exciting yet.  Versha Carter continues, “There has been a vast leap in the progress of autonomous vehicles and robotic devices, both underwater and on the surface.  Whether it’s discovering an ancient shipwreck, mapping unchartered waters, searching for sea mines, or conducting remote arctic research, devices are making it possible for us to understand the oceans like never before.”

With 350 exhibitors at Ocean Business from over 26 different countries, almost every field of ocean technology is covered at the show.  Here are some highlights:


Fareham-based ASV Sheds Light on the Mysteries of the Oceans with their Unmanned Surface Vehicles, Stand U4

Autonomous surface vehicles are revolutionising the way we gain access to information about the ocean.  Currently we rely on large military, commercial, or scientific vessels with expensive equipment, but the introduction of autonomous surface vessels has made it possible to understand and capture processes with precision, more cost effectively and with a lower carbon footprint.

World renown Fareham-based ASV Global will be demonstrating their unmanned autonomous boat which will be following a pre-programmed route around the harbour to map the seabed, with live data and camera footage being fed back to the ASV stand.


Test Drive Underwater Drones at Deep Trekker, Stand G12

Aerial drones have been widely accepted in the consumer market, but there is still a huge amount of potential for their use in the underwater world for offshore inspections, and helping researchers and archeologists to easily navigate investigation sites remotely with live HD video.

In fact, Deep Trekker ‘DTG2’, has just completed a project for Parks Canada in the icy waters of Northern Canada to investigate the HMS Erebus; the ill-fated ship from the famous Sir John Franklin’s Northern Passage expedition of 1845.

Deep Trekker’s drones will be available for test-piloting in a 200-gallon water tank on the Deep Trekker stand.


Robotic Swimming Snakes are the Future of Subsea Maintenance!  Kongsberg Maritime and Eelume, Stands N1 & P2

Resembling robotic aliens from a sci-fi movie, Kongsberg Maritime and Eelume have developed snake-like swimming robots for permanent installation on the seabed.

The robots live on the seabed and can be used to remotely inspect and clean equipment, even adjusting valves and chokes on machinery.  These jobs account for a large part of subsea maintenance and the robots could slash costs.


British-Engineered Mini Robotic Vehicles at Planet Ocean, Stand G12

There’s been much interest in the arrival of ‘micro-subs’.  These mini underwater robotic vehicles are only 50cm long and their tiny size means they can be used in new ways.  The micro-subs can be grouped together to form ‘shoals’ of micro-subs to collectively create a far superior 3D map of the underwater environment, quickly covering a much greater area.

Launch event planned for ecoSubs at midday on 4 April.


Remotely Operated Vehicles Map an Area the Size of Wales in just a Month!  Ocean Infinity, Stand V5

Over half of our planet is yet to be explored; the oceans comprise 71% of the earth’s surface yet only 5% have been accurately mapped.  Ocean Infinity will explore unknown depths using highly innovative technology.  Six HUGIN autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), capable of operating in 6000 m water depth, will collect high resolution data at record breaking speeds.

The AUV fleet will be accompanied by six unmanned surface vehicles to ensure precise positioning and constant communication.  Each AUV will include a variety of high tech sensors for mapping the ocean, while gathering valuable scientific information.


Opening up the World of Underwater Virtual Reality with ORUS 3D Optical Reconstruction at Comex, Stand E5F

Anyone can dive to the depths of the ocean and walk the seascape using ORUS 3D.  It produces very high resolution 3D models of underwater sites using a multiple camera sensor.  This contactless measurement technology is very useful for offshore and civil engineering, as well as environmental assessments, archaeology and defence as it is able to reproduce submillimetric detail.

Mounted on a remotely operated vehicle, it can work at any ocean depth and produces exceptionally high resolution models with texture and colour.  These can then be viewed by screen or a VR device to allow people to walk around and inspect structures and seascapes as though they were there.


Understanding the Future of Our Oceans

With all the technology on offer and high-level meetings of key industry decision makers, this year’s show provides an unmissable opportunity to understand the potential of ocean science and developments that are essential for our future.  A full programme of activities is available at for Ocean Business 2017, taking place at the NOC from 4-6 April.


Please call Emma Lee: 07702 150102 or email [email protected] for a press pass or to arrange filming, photos or interviews.