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A SeaOwl unmanned vessel remotely operated by satellite from l'X campus

On September 10 and 11, the X campus hosted a demonstration of remote piloting by satellite of an unmanned vessel off the coast of Toulon. A world premiere for this major innovation developed by SeaOwl which was attended by the French Minister of State for the Digital Transition and Electronic Communication and the Minister of Maritime Affairs.

Le poste de commandement SeaOwl, installé sur le campus de l'X

On September 10 and 11, École Polytechnique hosted the world premiere demonstration of the project called ROSS (for Remotely Operated Service at Sea).

This proof of concept, which illustrates the involvement of l’X, its students, its professors and researchers and its alumni in the development of the most advanced technologies (the ship detection and classification module was developed by two students from the X2018 class) was attended by the Minister of State for the Digital Transition and Electronic Communication, Cédric O and the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Annick Girardin.

La ministre de la mer, Annick Girardin, à l'X

Stressing the strong involvement of the State in financing and supporting the SeaOwl project, the Minister of Martime Affairs came to hand over the navigation permit of SeaOwl’s remotely operated commercial vessel.

Le secrétaire d'Etat à la transition numérique, Cédric O à l'X

"This is a world premiere and it was achieved by French engineers, researchers, entrepreneurs and employees before even the Americans, before even the Chinese," said Cédric O.

"Mastering the seas and technological mastery is completely strategic today in a global competition that has rarely been so fierce," he added, recalling that behind French technology and French know-how, there were also jobs in France.

"The greatness of a nation depends on its ability to be among the best in the world. Today we have shown that with French engineering schools we have been the best in the world," stressed the Ministry of State.

The President of Ecole polytechnique and of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, Eric Labaye, took this opportunity to talk with Cédric O about the projects of the school and its partners in the digital field, and in particular the launch on September 15 of a new interdisciplinary research center on Artificial Intelligence and Data Sciences, HI ! PARIS, by the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and HEC.

Xavier Genin, a former merchant navy officer and President of SeaOwl since January 2018, was accompanied by CEO Vincent Boutteau (X91) and CTO Adel Amri (X86).

"With the ROSS project and contrary to an autonomous vessel, a crew pilots the ship from shore, which allows crew savings and minimizes risks and therefore reduces costs," noted Xavier Genin.

SeaOwl, initially specializing in marine maintenance markets, is accelerating its digital transition with the Ross project to position itself as a world reference in remote ship operation and maritime cybersecurity services. The company plans to build between 2023 and 2028 some twenty electrically-propelled remotely operated vessels, which will carry out underwater inspections of oil, gas and wind farms.