From Deck to Depths: Robot Round-Up

It’s a dance of the robots on E/V Nautilus’s back deck with four teams working together to push the boundaries of ocean exploration. OECI partners University of New Hampshire’s uncrewed surface vessel DriX joins Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s hybrid remotely operated underwater vehicle Mesobot and hybrid ROV Nereid Under Ice (NUI) to integrate at-sea technologies.

E/V Nautilus is proudly serving as a launchpad for these synchronistic missions to map and explore the ocean. For example, DriX’s EK-80 system, and to some extent the EM2040 Multibeam, will map the water column, tracking the diurnal migration of the deep scattering layer. Then, with the aid of scientists both aboard the ship and (via the ship’s satellite internet connection) across the globe, operators will guide Mesobot to track and sample this migration using the DriX-8 radio telemetry systems and underwater acoustic modem for communication. DriX-8 will also operate in collaboration with NUI, tracking the vehicle and providing a similar communications relay.

This year’s technology integration takes many goals from last seasonʻs technology test even further, advancing procedures and training teams to work in new vehicle operational combinations. Over the course of 16-days near the Hawaiian Islands, the team is testing vehicles furthering the OECI’s goal of developing the tools and technology to enable ocean exploration activities to be conducted remotely or without human supervision.

Learn more about this expedition funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.