Autonomous Marine Systems have developed small, low power, autonomous vessels that can collect mass ocean data.
Autonomous robots are being increasingly used in contexts humans would find dangerous or work-intensive — we’ve already seen underwater robots monitoring local water pollution. Autonomous Marine Systems wants to scale the technology up to a global oceanic scale for a new era of marine research.
AMS have developed small, autonomous marine vessels called Datamarans, capable of self-righting when navigating changeable sea conditions. Described as ‘self-deploying buoys’, the vessels are equipped with low power computers and autonomous navigational machinery, and are able to station-keep and return to base upon mission completion. Using the preexisting Iridium satellite network, fleets of Datamarans are capable of linking up to cover data acquisition over large areas of the ocean — a fleet of five can monitor 5000 sq km a day. What’s more, solar panels and wind energy keep the Datamarans powered for long-term deployment.
AMS’s scalable autonomous network could revolutionize ocean data acquisition to bring marine research into the realm of big data. Pilot programs are already underway in defense and energy organizations — what other purposes could networked marine robots be used for?