News Release

SeaBee drone research project launched with grant from Research Council of Norway

The SeaBee Project will develop infrastructure, tools, and techniques to help map and study the Norwegian coastline in unprecedented detail

Grant and Award Announcement


OSLO/ARENDAL, Norway - The new SeaBee project, funded by a NOK 60 million grant from the Research Council of Norway, is poised to help map the Norwegian coastline at a much more detailed level than ever before, while putting Norway at the forefront of drone research and monitoring infrastructure. Using drones, machine learning, and novel cloud storage solutions, SeaBee will develop a national centre for state-of-the-art environmental research, mapping, and monitoring of the nation's coasts. This will enable a much easier and cost-efficient operation than current day standards, facilitating research on changes in the coastline and its biodiversity.

"SeaBee brings together aerial drones and other high-tech tools to create an efficient, cutting-edge system for mapping the Norwegian coastline. This project will establish Norway as an international leader in drone research", says Kasper Hancke, senior researcher at NIVA and head of the SeaBee project.

The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) is leading the SeaBee project, funded by the Research Council of Norway. Partners include research institutions, and businesses: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) , Norwegian Computing Center (NR), Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (HI), GRID-Arendal, Andøya Space Center (ASC), and Spectrofly A/S.

"The Research Council of Norway is proud to fund this beyond-state-of-the-art drone-based infrastructure project, which will support the country's industry and research communities, enable better environmental protection, and enhance Norway's reputation as hub for innovation", says John-Arne Røttingen, chief executive of the Research Council of Norway.

During its initial five-year phase, SeaBee will build capacity and infrastructure in Norway for using drones in coastal and aquatic research and in mapping and monitoring of habitats, animal communities, water quality, and anthropogenic impacts. Work is now underway on the project, which will be centred in Oslo and Trondheim.

A key outcome of the SeaBee project will be improved understanding and management of Norway's coastal environment. By fitting sophisticated environmental sensors to small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), SeaBee will enable collection of high-resolution data at a large scale. With drones that fly 100 metres above ground, scientists can capture images with 1,000 times finer resolution than satellite images. SeaBee will also automate data collection and analysis, making the process more efficient and less costly. Data from the project will be shared broadly to benefit coastal industries, policymakers, environmental managers, researchers, and students.

This week, the official kick-off meeting is taking place both virtually and at Oscarsborg Fortress in Oslo. To celebrate the launch of the project, a contest will award a new drone for the best photograph featuring the name "SeaBee" portrayed in Norwegian nature.

For more information on the project, visit


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