I wrote earlier this year about the use of underwater drones for protecting coral reef from predators.
The device, known as COTSbot, trawls the bottom of the sea in search for something called the Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish (COTS). The starfish is known to feed on the corals that underpin the rich ecosystem, so when starfish numbers boom, the reef is put under significant strain. It’s estimated that the species is responsible for up to 40% of the decline in coral cover.
You also have the automated yachts developed by the Buffalo Automation Group that can predict upcoming issues rather than simply respond to them, as many systems do today.
Autonomous Marine Systems are continuing this trend with the creation of an automated marine research device.
The devices, called Datamarans, are described by the company as self-deploying buoys and are equipped with low power computers and smart navigational equipment.
They are capable of maintaining their position for the duration of their work before then returning to base upon completion of their mission.
Navigation is provided by the Iridium satellite network, and the devices are capable of communicating effectively amongst the fleet even over vast differences.
AMS claim that a fleet of five vehicles are capable of monitoring up to 5,000 sq km each day, with power provided via both solar panels and wind turbines onboard.
They hope that they will revolutionize the collection of oceanic data and marine based research. Whilst big data has had a huge impact on many fields, the costs involved in data collection has largely left marine research out of the party.
The company are already putting the device through its paces in a pilot program with defence and energy organizations, after which they will hopefully roll things out further.