An innovative and interdisciplinary project

An innovative and interdisciplinary project

An innovative project

The exploration and the use of ocean natural resources is a major challenge facing the 21st. To date, oceans remain largely unexplored although they represent 71% of the earth’s surface with a mean depth of 4000m.

Future generations of engineers will face two strongly linked issues: how to improve knowledge of the marine environment and how to allow for sustainable exploitation of available marine resources. They will need to produce more accurate marine charts, to efficiently monitor fishery resources and to inspect  underwater infrastructures such as offshore wind power and marine current power.

In order to combine the development of the "sea economy" and the preservation of the environment, two scientific communities will work together: sensor experts – Hydrographers and Oceanographer – and autonomous vehicle experts – Roboticists. This alliance will make it possible to survey, the oceans more quickly and efficiently ensuring the security of personnel.

The survey and exploitation of ocean resources are providing new emergent jobs especially in marine and sub-marine robotics and in hydrography/oceanography, which are two ENSTA Bretagne areas of expertise.

This is why, ENSTA Bretagne will organize practical training at Lake Guerledan for its final year students. The study of a lake is a fascinating and safe environment which requires the same skills as those for oceanic studies.

The Guerlédan Lake

Lake Guerlédan is an artificial lake of about 4km² situated in Brittany, France. The Guerlédan dam was built around 1930 on the Blavet river and is used by the French electricity company EDF. Locks, houses and woodlands were flooded to create the lake.

In 2015, the lake was emptied to carry out to the ten-year inspection plan of the dam structures. In early 2016, the dam was returned to service and the lake is now at its previous level. The inspection revealed the olds locks and underwater structures of the lake.


Project organization

The objective of the training project is to enable students to work on genuine R&D projects in companies. They will develop and use autonomous robots and cutting edge hydrographic sensors. Students will carry out a complete study: setting-up acquisition systems, producing and processing data, undertaking design and automation of robots. They will acquire operational autonomy and a sense of initiative which will be necessary for their future careers.

Each group of students will present a technology demonstrator corresponding to a list of specifications, at the end of the project.

The project will be conducted over a period of 5 months from October 2016 to March 2017 including two weeks of intensive field experimentation at Guerlédan Lake:

  • From 17th to 21st October 2016 for the first tests and immersion in real conditions;
  • From 6th to 10th March 2017 for final tests and presentation of the demonstrators.

Each group of students will have 4 months between the two test sessions to improve and finalize its demonstrator and will be able to apply the conclusions of the first week experimentation to improve its systems.

Around fifty students from Robotics and Hydrography-Oceanography will be involved and supervised by a team of twenty teachers from ENSTA Bretagne.