Marine Autonomous Robotic Systems
Oceanographers have driven the widespread use and acceptance of robotic and autonomous systems in the marine environment. The use of these platforms has transformed our ability to monitor the oceans by enabling autonomous, adaptive and persistent observations from the surface to the deepest depths and furthest reaches of the oceans.
To enable the scientific community to have broad access to Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS) platforms, sensors and networks the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) supports the Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) fleet at the National Oceanography Centre. The fleet is made available to NERC-funded scientists to support world class oceanography.
The MARS fleet is one of the largest and most advanced in the world, having benefited from a £10 million investment as part of the UK Government's 'Eight Great Technologies' initiative, and £16 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Key to its success are the 45 engineers and technologists that develop, maintain, and operate the vehicles on behalf of the UK science community.
The fleet includes:
- Underwater gliders capable of operating from months at sea
- Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASVs) capable of transiting the ocean taking measurements at the air/sea interface, as well as interacting with sub-surface vehicles
- Autosub Autonomous Underwater Vehicles These unmanned submarines are capable of taking measurements in the deep ocean, under Arctic sea ice or beneath glaciers in Antarctica
- Remotely Operated Vehicles – tethered underwater platforms piloted from the ship.
We regularly support operations the length of the Atlantic as well as further afield. You can track our vehicles on live missions at https://mars.noc.ac.uk/. To continue to advance the capabilities of the fleet our engineers also develop new platforms and infrastructure to enable new science capabilities.
The equipment within the MARS fleet forms part of the National Marine Equipment Pool (NMEP) and is available for use by the marine science community. Please discuss your requirements with the relevant engineering manager listed below.
Equipment within the National Marine Equipment Pool is available for use by the marine science community. Contact us for more information or to arrange commercial hire of our instruments and vehicles.
The AUV Operations team maintains and operates the high powered Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) within the NMEP . Our engineers work closely with scientists to support their scientific goals and expeditions.
The ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) team operate the Isis and Hybis ROVs. The team will pilot these platforms remotely from the ship which allows scientists to watch live as the vehicles gather samples, photos and video footage.
Experts in the development of novel Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems for ocean science, oil and gas, and deep sea mining. The group develops new platforms and technologies to extend the capabilities of the MARS fleet. We are responsible for the development of the new AUV platforms Autosub Long Range (ALR1500) and Autosub2KUI.
Please contact us to discuss future requirements.
The people who undertake this science.
Dr Maaten Furlong
Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems Group Head
Gliders Engineering Manager
AUV Operations Engineering Manager
ROV Operations Engineering Manager
Dr Alex Phillips
Head of Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems Development Group
NOC projects associated with this science area.
Oceanids will see new and innovative autonomous vehicles being developed at the NOC that will push the boundaries of how we explore our oceans. With capabilities allowing us to reach new depths, travel under ice, and collect data in some of the most environmentally hostile environments, autonomous vehicles are the future of marine science. visit project website
MASSMO is a pioneering multi-partner series of trials and demonstrator missions that aim to explore the UK seas using a fleet of innovative marine robots. visit project website
The BRIDGES project (Bringing together Industry for the Development of Glider Environment) aims to develop two new deep-sea autonomous gliders and demonstrate their capabilities at sea. visit project website
The RAPID-AMOC programme (2014-2020) is a continuation of the two previous programmes to study the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). visit project website
The latest publications NOC has produced related to this science area.