European Union’s Horizon 2020

This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 funding program in research and innovation, grant no. 863566

Summary of the context and general objectives of the project (for the final period, includes conclusions of the action)

The keels of sailboats and powerboats should be cleaned regularly to reduce fuel consumption and improve performance. It is a global market of 6.9 million recreational boats between 10 and 24 m. Boat cleaning needs increase with algae growth due to:
(i) climate change and warmer waters and (ii) new regulation restricting the use of toxic paints on keels. Keelcrab is a robot that cleans keels underwater; it is governed by remote control. It is a disruptive solution to actual beach or cleanup practices with divers: expensive and unsafe.
Large-scale adoption of Keelcrab will change the paradigm of keel cleaning, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The overall objectives of the feasibility study are to rationalize the company’s great potential into a complete picture, set detailed revenue and margin targets, and determine financial requirements, for a period of 5 years.

Work done from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far (for the final period please include an overview of the results and their exploitation and dissemination)

Market research focused on selecting the most attractive countries in the world, considering population, GNP, coastline, boats, and finally market size. The numbers show that the U.S. is the dominant market, accounting for approximately 50 percent of the global market; other interesting countries include Canada, China, and northern European countries. Diversification in the pool cleaning market will help achieve critical mass.
We have clearly defined our business model: in the first phase we sell Keelcrab to professionals (Keelcrab Points) who use the robot to clean their customers’ keels; in a second phase we will sell to boat owners directly online or through a global network of dealers. R&D and engineering efforts have improved the robot’s performance, in terms of keel grip; a new version, tested in November 2019, will go into production in January 2020.
The future, to be developed in 2020-2022, is automation that enables self-movement, without human push.
The IPR strategy has been defined and two patent applications will be filed in the first half of 2020.

Progress beyond the state of the art, expected outcomes to the end of the project, and potential impacts (including socioeconomic impact and broader social implications of the project so far)

A major improvement in the application will occur when we launch a new, fully automated Keelcrab. This requires further efforts in engineering, exploitation and deployment that will take another two years. The automated Keelcrab targets the yacht and ship markets, expanding the large market potential.

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