The ecoSUB AUV has been successfully trialled in the North Sea off Orkney during a marine robot demonstrator mission co-ordinated by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
The new system has been developed by Planet Ocean in partnership with the NOC. With a weight of 4kg and a length of approximately 0.5m, the micro-AUV is capable of diving to depths of up to 500m and can remain underwater for several hours.
During the trial, two ecoSUB-µ5-SVP vehicles were deployed from Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise. The vessels collected sound velocity profile data to depths of 100m. The collected data will be compared with that collected by traditional ‘over-the-side’ instruments deployed from the ship in order to enable the Royal Navy and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to assess the benefits of this new technology.
The ecoSUB-µ5 dives almost vertically, in a tight spiral, allowing water column profiles to be captured. Traditional AUVs and gliders have relatively shallow dive angles which means that they need to travel horizontally some distance whilst acquiring data.