UNH and Exail Open New Maritime Autonomy Innovation Hub

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

DriX explores the Piscataqua River

DriX, Exail’s uncrewed surface vessel designed for ocean mapping and exploration, explores the Piscataqua River near UNH’s Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex in New Castle. Photo credit: UNH / Robert Zielinski

DURHAM, N.H.— The University of New Hampshire, a recognized leader in the field of ocean mapping research, and Exail, a global innovator in the field of maritime autonomy,  have opened a new innovation hub that will engage in all aspects of marine autonomous operations to help meet the challenges of the growing blue economy - an emerging concept that encourages better use of the ocean as a resource while reducing environmental harm.

UNH is collaborating with Exail which will use the new center to deliver increased operational advantage to U.S. civil and government customers. This includes the U.S. production of its Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV), DriX, the housing of a remote operation center to conduct worldwide remote autonomous operations, establishing local operations, maintenance and training facilities, and providing expertise on maritime autonomy while also training future generations on the use of autonomous vessels.

”This exciting collaboration will not only be good for Exail and UNH students and researchers but also good for New Hampshire and the nation,” said Larry Mayer, director of UNH’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. ”We anticipate that it is just the start of bringing many of our other industrial partners and government colleagues to the state as we create a local engine for the new blue economy. ”

“We’ve been working together with UNH for the past six years pioneering uncrewed technologies and we are now capitalizing on our common achievements with the opening of this new innovation hub, “ said Marine Slingue, president at Exail, Inc. “We’re very proud and excited to take this next step in our U.S. adventure and we would like to thank UNH, CCOM and NOAA for their great support, leadership and vision on the use of uncrewed technologies that took us where we are today. We look forward to our continuous partnership with them and all the great work we achieve together to keep advancing maritime autonomy in the U.S.”

The new hub will be at located at UNH’s Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center to facilitate collaborative work with UNH’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping.

The opening of the new maritime autonomy innovation hub was celebrated on July 15, in the presence of UNH President Jim Dean, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan and Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nicole LeBoeuf.

About UNH
The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. A Carnegie Classification R1 institution, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and received $260 million in competitive external funding in FY21 to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.

About Exail
Exail is a leading high-tech industrial company specializing in cutting-edge robotics, maritime, navigation, aerospace and photonics technologies. With a strong entrepreneurial culture, Exail delivers unrivaled performance, reliability and safety to itscivil and defense clients operating in severe environments. From the deep sea to outer space, Exail expands their capabilities with a full range of robust in-house manufactured components, products and systems. Employing a workforce of 1500 people worldwide, the company benefits from a global footprint and conducts its business in over 80 countries. Exail was formed by ECA Group and iXblue joining forces in 2022. It is a subsidiary of Exail Technologies, a family-owned company specialized in high-technology.