Autonomous Vehicles

Marine autonomous vehicles (MAVs) are a rapidly growing technology and are now routinely used by researchers and as part of a growing ocean observing system. When used along with fixed point observatories, ships of opportunity and satellite remote sensing, the strategic deployment of MAVs offers the prospect of substantial improvement in our observing network.

Marine gliders in particular can provide high resolution data sets at depth over extensive periods of time and space. This allows researchers to collect huge data sets that are useful for assimilation into models. Not only can MAVs provide information to tune our models, but also the models themselves can provide information to help pilot MAVs. By providing simulations of marine environment in near real time the MAV “smart” autonomous systems can then adjust their sampling strategy and course in response to emerging environmental features (e.g. tracking a bloom or transecting a front) to optimise the information content of their observations.

A quick introduction to robotic glider operation, then data from a return mission from Scotland to Iceland. Data processed in Matlab and animated in Paraview.
Video produced by Dr Sam Jones from SAMS.