UK’s largest marine robot fleet defies storms to complete successful mission

A fleet of ten marine robots has successfully completed an ambitious two-week mission off northwest Scotland, despite being hit by a succession of Atlantic storms with winds gusting up to 60 mph and waves up to 7 m high. The mission comprised the largest simultaneous deployment of marine robots yet attempted in UK waters, with seven submarine gliders and three surface Wave Gliders operating in challenging waters around the Outer Hebrides.

Phase Three now underway off northwest Scotland

The next phase of the project, an ambitious two-week mission involving ten marine robots has commenced off northwest Scotland. This latest phase sees the largest fleet of vehicles to be simultaneously deployed in UK waters. The fleet of surface and submarine gliders are working together to collect a range of environmental data.

‘Hidden larder’ for sharks and whales revealed in Welsh waters

The mission saw an unmanned underwater glider travel to an area around 50 miles to the south west of Wales called the Celtic Deep, which is a haven for wildlife but also an extremely busy shipping route and fishing ground. The glider travelled 600 km in 30 days, undertaking nearly 3000 dives from the sea surface to the seabed at a depth of 100 m.

NOC and WWF in partnership for Phase Three

Today begins phase three of the Exploring Ocean Fronts project, which is the latest in a series of ambitious marine robotic vehicle trials off the UK coast. This new phase will see the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) working in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to measure marine wildlife in the Celtic Sea.

Robot fleet successfully completes pioneering mission

The second phase of an ambitious project to gather valuable information on ocean processes and marine life using a fleet of innovative marine robots has just reached its conclusion. Co-ordinated by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the Exploring Ocean Fronts project took place off southwest England and saw the largest deployment of robotic vehicles ever attempted in UK waters.

The marine robots, which are powered by a combination of wave, wind and solar power, are controlled by satellite communications and can cover hundreds of kilometres in a single mission.

Robotic vehicles successfully track tagged fish off Plymouth

Fish ready to be releasedThree unmanned surface vehicles have been operating south of Plymouth this week in an exciting trial designed to test their ability to track tagged fish. These new robotic vehicles, which are part of a fleet operated by the National Oceanography Centre, include a Liquid Robotics SV3 Waveglider, the MOST AV AutoNaut and the ASV C-Enduro.

Preparations underway for Phase Two

Preparations are well underway for Phase Two of the Exploring Ocean Fronts project, which sees the innovative ocean robots being used to track fish, as well as continuing to monitor the ocean itself.

More Candyfloss please

One of the targets for this exercise is a site called the Candyfloss Array. It is where an array of moored instruments is recording physical, chemical and biological properties 145 miles (235km) off the Cornish coast in the Celtic Sea.

Planet Earth Online podcast about Exploring ocean fronts

Planet Earth Online podcast of the week about exploring ocean frontsThe Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) news website – Planet Earth Online has produced their podcast of the week about the Exploring ocean fronts project.

Project update – Gathering data

This week, the Exploring Ocean Fronts project is living up to its name, as our unmanned surface vehicles and submarine gliders continue to actively gather information from the open ocean far from land. They are looking at the physical properties of the ocean, such as temperature, salinity and chlorophyll, and continue to successfully navigate the recent high tides and strong winds.