Plymouth Marine Laboratory acquires new USV for science missions

Plymouth Marine Laboratory has acquired a new unmanned surface vehicle (USV) for scientific missions off the UK coast.

Developed by local unmanned systems specialist AutoNaut, the five-metre PML Pioneer will be outfitted with a range of sensors for gathering meteorological and oceanographic parameters including weather station, CTD, pH, nitrate, phosphate, irradiance, Chl, CDOM, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pCO2, and photosynthetic efficiency and rates. High-definition cameras will also be installed on the mast and sub-surface on the hull.

The USV will use no carbon fuel and will be able to independently survey at sea for many weeks at a time. It is propelled by wave energy, using unique wave-foil technology, and has solar PV panels and a battery pack to power onboard systems and sensors.

The USV will be pre-programmed to complete missions whilst carefully overseen from facilities in Plymouth.

PML Pioneer will help to support the testing and development of a wide range of new products and services for the marine sector. The USV itself is funded by Natural Environment Research Council/UK Research and Innovation (NERC/UKRI).

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