Irish early-stage marine technology firm, Raceix, have today announced plans to commence piloting a next-generation shared-positioning system for the recreational boating sector, in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Space Solutions Centre Ireland, as an ESA BIC Ireland supported company. On-water testing will run throughout the summer from their testing base at New Ross on the River Barrow and into the Waterford Estuary, and also at various sites in North America. Following the pilot programme the technology – entitled M-TAP (Marine-Traffic Awareness Platform) will be rolled out internationally later this year.
According to Aidan Foley, CEO of Raceix, this represents a very real opportunity to bring intuitive and supportive technology, derived from space technology into the hands of boaters: “ESA BIC is a European-wide internationally acclaimed programme and we’re deeply honoured to have been selected as a participant. This will also see us working closely with the MaREI Centre in Ringaskiddy, County Cork – the world-leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine. The insights, support and credibility these bodies will provide Raceix with is of enormous value and will help us to successfully navigate our way through our technology and commercialisation development roadmaps. At present recreational boaters are poorly supported by ‘situational-awareness’ technologies. The current AIS system is far from ideal for this sector due to its slow updating times and requirement for having specific hardware on board, so we firmly believe that our technology delivers a more usable and understandable solution. We’re extremely grateful to both ESA BIC Ireland and Enterprise Ireland for recognising this opportunity and for positively supporting us on our journey.”
“With no roads on the water other boats can appear from anywhere at any time, heading in any direction. Our solution can remove unexpected surprises while also providing a robust and understandable level of situational awareness. More informed boating results in more enhanced, more enjoyable, and much safer boating which improves the experience for everyone on board. As we move forward we expect to add additional ‘Citizen Science’ elements to M-TAP to further increase the benefits for those on the water, for marine researchers and for international hydrographic bodies.”
Peter Finnegan, ESA Space Solution Centre Ireland Manager, said that this is another example of how early-stage companies can benefit from the space active ecosystem in Ireland to unlock the potential of space technology to bring positive disruption to international markets. “The marine sector has the potential to benefit massively from the utilisation of space technology and resources and we are delighted that Raceix is the first marine-based ESA BIC Ireland client company. The platform that is being developed by Raceix aims to revolutionise the recreational boating sector across the globe by deploying technology to replace outdated methods that are no longer fit for purpose. Raceix has assembled a highly experienced team, possessing a vast amount of relevant industry experience and international business development capability.”
Liam Fitzgerald, the Enterprise Ireland funded National Marine Incubation Manager and MaREI Centre representative on ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland added
“We are delighted to see Raceix involved in ESA BIC Ireland and further developing their relationship with the MaREI Centre. There are significant global opportunities for high quality Irish Marine Technology businesses like Raceix and we want to support their success in whatever ways we can.”
Tony Larkin, Director of Services for Economic Development and Planning said “Wexford County Council are delighted to welcome Raceix‘s new innovation in marine technology to New Ross Port in Wexford. The exciting development is an endorsement of the high calibre team at Raceix who are pushing out technology to new horizons in the recreational boating sector, attracting global partners. We are delighted that Raceix selected Wexford as their location of choice for their testing and look forward to their exciting journey with prestigious partners at the European Space Agency.”
M-TAP is part of a larger Raceix solution called ‘BoatingOS’, which they announced with their global development partner, Beneteau, at the Dusseldorf and Miami Boat Shows in 2020. As a consequence of the major upsurge in interest related to marine-leisure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made to fast-track this element into the market at the earliest opportunity.