AutoNaut, used during Phase One

AutoNaut is a 3.5-metre unmanned surface vehicle, designed to gather oceanographic data over long periods. It was developed by Chichester-based MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Ltd, as a result of a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition run by NOC, supported by the Technology Strategy Board. AutoNaut is controlled via satellite, uses solar energy to power its sensors and wave power to keep it moving, meaning it has zero emissions.

The video is an introduction to AutoNaut and shows it being used at sea gathering data.

C-Enduro, used during Phase One, Phase Two

Is an innovative long-endurance autonomous surface vehicle built by Portsmouth-based company Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV). The vehicle was officially launched in March 2014 after being developed as part of the same SBRI competition run by NOC. Built to operate in all marine environments, C-Enduro uses solar panels, a wind generator, a lightweight diesel generator and a self-righting hull to enable it to remain at sea for long periods.

The video is an introduction to C-Enduro and shows it being used out at sea to gather scientific data.

Gliders, used during Phase One and Phase Three

Three Wavegliders are being deployed as part of the project. The Wave Glider is an autonomous, environmentally-powered ocean-going vehicle, developed by Liquid Robotics. It is fitted with surface and sub-surface sensors to gather information such as water temperature and the atmospheric conditions above, such as wind speed. It is roughly the size of a surf board and is equipped with computers for navigation and a satellite communication system.


Waveglider receiving last minutes checks before deployment
Waveglider being towed into place ready for deployment


There are two types of Waveglider being deployed as part of the project:

  • SV2 owned by NOC and based in Liverpool (named NOC-L)
  • SV3 owned by CEFAS (named Lyra)
  • SV3 owned by NOC and based in Southampton (named Waimea)

Slocum Gliders, used during Phases One, Two and Three

The Slocum Gliders, built by Teledyne Webb Research, have been bought and significantly customised by NOC for research purposes. High-endurance vehicles equipped with a variety of sensors, they can operate at depths of 1000 metres and are controlled via satellite communications. They are capable of remaining at sea for months at a time and transmitting data back to shore.

The two Slocums being used in this project are shallow-water versions of the gliders, able to operate in depths of up to 200 metres. They are fitted with thrusters to cope with strong currents and this project is the first NOC deployment using this technology. The two gliders feature slightly different sensors. The first is fitted with an echo sounder which primarily looks for fish and the second is fitted with a D-tag, which is a passive acoustic listening device for locating marine mammals.

Cefas Endeavour, used during Phase One

The Cefas EndeavourTo support the exercise and our work the Cefas Endeavour a sophisticated, purpose-built ocean-going research vessel will be in the area. This entered service in April 2003, and undertakes estuarine, shelf seas and deep water oceanographic and fisheries surveys.

Certified to the International Maritime Organization's "International Safety Management Code", the vessel provides an effective and economic platform for scientific research and surveys. It is able to deploy a wide range of commercial and experimental static and towed gear, and is fitted out with laboratory facilities, extensive electronics, acoustic and optical equipment and data networks.

RRS Discovery, used during Phase Two

RRS DiscoveryThe Royal Research Ship Discovery is designed to support the multidisciplinary research required for the 21st century. The ship is the fourth vessel to bear the name and continues the tradition of oceanographic research at sea. Discovery will deploy and recover the glider used during Phase three whilst in the area undertaking another scientific mission.