IIT Madras to Build World-Class Ocean Engineering and Maritime Center


IIT Madras to Build World-Class Ocean Engineering and Maritime Center
IIT Madras has discreetly established a substantial Centre of Excellence (CoE) dedicated to advancing indigenous maritime technology and expertise. The team of researchers leading this initiative has been actively engaged in significant maritime projects across India, contributing to substantial financial savings for the country through the substitution of foreign expertise and technology. 
"We are working to make this CoE a global hub in the Maritime Sector and generate significant cost savings for India by developing not only the technology but also trained manpower to replace the foreign expertise in the Indian maritime sector", said V. Sriram, Principal Investigator, CoE on Maritime Experiments To Maritime Experience (ME2ME), IIT Madras.
The center is poised to develop technologies with far-reaching effects on offshore and coastal engineering, green shipping, future port infrastructure, and offshore renewable energy, among other areas. It will soon begin hosting startups in related fields, and there are plans underway to secure funding for its upcoming projects.
Established through funding from the 'Institute of Eminence', an initiative by the Government of India to promote top-tier research, the center is overseen by faculty members from the Department of Ocean Engineering at IIT-Madras. These include Abhilash Somayajula, K. Murali, S.A. Sannasiraj, R. Vijayakumar, R. Suresh, and J. Arjun, alongside Emeritus Professors V. Sundar and R. Sundaravadivelu, as highlighted by Mr. Sriram.
A significant achievement from the CoE is the innovation and creation of 'Wavemakers,' designed to offer precise control in testing marine structures prior to field installation. Recently, researchers at the Discovery Campus, the satellite campus of IIT Madras, successfully developed 152 entirely indigenous wavemakers at a total expenditure of Rs 7.5 Crore. In contrast, an imported counterpart would have incurred a minimum cost of Rs 45 Crore. This cost-effective technology, compared to imported wavemakers, is now poised for export to other nations.
"We have developed a Next Generation smartphone-based 'e-Navigation' for Inland Water Transport (IWT), which is cost-effective. We are working towards developing an independent and robust navigation and communication system through the establishment of an Indigenous Satellite-based Automatic Identification System (SatAIS) through the launch of a few AIS Cubesats to reduce the overpriced subscription cost for SatAIS-based real-time vessel tracking, fleet management and maritime surveillance", said Mr. Murali.
"A world-class facility in IIT Madras in the field of ocean engineering is our vision", said Mr. Suresh Rajendran. He added, "Through this center, we are venturing into niche areas of prototype testing for coastal and port engineering applications, development of marine autonomous vehicles for survey, surveillance and transportation, and AI and ML applied to marine fields. All of these are essential ingredients to build a healthy blue economy for the nation", he noted.