Gathering oceanographic data from our autonomous vehicles over extended periods of time now needs new, innovative battery technologies that are small, durable against the elements, and are able to store vast amounts of energy.
Electronics systems enabling long-term observations are important, as well as the software used to operate vehicles and process the data recorded. Autonomous vehicles, moorings and instruments can transmit their collected data back to scientists via communications links using Iridium or via satellites.
The NOC is playing a vital role in the advancement of marine science research by developing new electronics, software and communications technologies to allow instruments to be out at sea, collecting data for extended periods of time while communicating back to the scientists on shore.
Current technology developments being undertaken by the NOC include the following.
Autonomous Adaptive Ocean Sampling Networks (AAOSN)
With a supporting budget of £1.5m split into two phases looking at feasibility and then prototype development, the aim of this project is to assess and develop, novel Adaptive Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AAOSN) management systems capable of coordinating a suite of marine autonomous systems.
Pressure Tolerant Lithium Sulfur Battery Pack
The need to collect more data from the marine environment means that Marine Autonomous Systems need to be at sea for longer, requiring more power. Steatite Ltd, OXIS Energy Ltd, MSubs Ltd and the NOC are collaborating to develop a solution to this problem. As part of this Steatite Ltd led project, the NOC will be sharing expertise on providing power to AUVs at depth.
In Development – Command-and-Control (C2)
The Command and Control (C2) project will simplify the operation of the Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS) fleet operated by the NOC, and will automate the processing and archiving of the near real-time data acquired by the vehicles within the National Marine Equipment Pool and, the new MAS platforms being developed through Oceanids.