Working with industry to test “on-demand” sampling on unmanned technologies

Working with industry to test “on-demand” sampling on unmanned technologies

In what is believed to be a world-first in the scientific community, Cefas scientists have utilised near real-time information to develop and test a new selective “on-demand” sampling method for unmanned technologies.

Cefas scientists, in collaboration with Liquid Robotics successfully deployed, tested and recovered a remotely piloted Wave Glider SV3 which allowed scientists to measure water characteristics and selectively take samples in near real-time.

This pilot mission aimed to enable new opportunities for monitoring ocean conditions to complement the wider suite of technologies increasingly available, including satellite imagery. The installed Cefas Water Sampler was triggered using data from the on-board chlorophyll sensor transmitted in near real-time over the Iridium satellite network.

The Wave Glider SV3 was deployed to a suspected Karenia sp algal bloom north of the Dogger Bank and was navigated by the Liquid Robotics operations team across 2700km of strong currents, shallow sandbanks and fixed and moving obstacles over 48 days at sea. 11 sample collections were remotely triggered, analysis of which has proven the existence of Karenia sp in the targeted area. In future, such technology could be used to identify and track such harmful algal blooms earlier, cheaper and safer.

Dr David Pearce, Cefas Marine Observations Systems Manager, in command of this mission said “The ability to take samples on demand allows us to better target areas of scientific interest, potentially allowing us to collect more accurate samples cheaper and safer. This mission was an undoubted success and demonstrated that there is great potential in smart solutions for monitoring ocean conditions and I am excited about the future for autonomous vehicles, such as the Wave Glider, that provide innovative ways to achieve our scientific and monitoring goals.”