The Smartest Part of the North Sea is Dutch

Scientists, companies and government authorities will soon have access to the ‘Smartest Part of the North Sea’. This section of the sea - right in front of the coast of the Dutch city of The Hague - will be the testing ground for many innovative maritime projects.

Scheveningen Haven

The beach of Scheveningen with a view of the entrance of Scheveningen harbor

This unique innovative technological zone will cover an area equal to  185 football fields (about 343 square kilometers). It will be situated just outside Scheveningen harbor. Participants can use this part of the North Sea to test their innovations under heavy environmental conditions, for example by measuring wind, currents and waves. But also products, like buoys with built-in sensors to sense ships, can be tested.

The data gathered from these tests will be sent to shore in real-time. The information will be used to develop new systems for the maritime sector.

Sailing innovation

Two students from the Computer Graphics and Visualization department of Delft Technical University (TU-Delft) will be using these testing grounds for sailing research.

One of the projects they’ll be testing is the sailing coach cockpit. This invention can be used to improve professional yachters by giving them performance feedback in real-time during their training. Under current circumstances, a coach can only give feedback at the end of the sailor’s practice session. The new innovation uses sensors in and on the water. It takes measurements regarding water currents, wind streams or wave heights. The data is sent directly to the yachter, who can make adjustments accordingly and improve his, or her, sailing technique on the spot.

Yachting events always occur on the water, far away from the spectators on shore. This makes it impossible for them to follow the course of the competition. A student from TU-Delft wants to use the North Sea testing grounds to create the sailing contest of the future. By creating computer graphics from data and using 3D imaging technology, the contest can be brought ashore, involving the spectators more directly and making it more of a spectator’s sport.

The ‘Smartest Part of the North Sea’ project will last 4 years and costs almost € 4.3 million. Thus far, 15 companies have signed up to use the North Sea trial zone.