Aussie scientists to use sea-faring drones to monitor ocean temperatures

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-25 09:54:07|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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CANBERRA, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Australia's peak scientific body has partnered with a company from San Francisco, the United States to "radically improve" its measurement and monitoring of Australian waters.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) announced the collaboration with ocean technology start-up Saildrone on Thursday.

Saildrones, an ocean-going drone, powered by the wind and sun and that can be at sea for up to 12 months, will be used by the CSIRO to collect information about sea-surface temperature, salinity and ocean carbon in Australian waters and the Southern Ocean.

Andreas Marouchos, CSIRO Research Group leader, said the fleet of three Saildrones would be controlled remotely from the CSIRO's research facility in Hobart.

"This research partnership comes at a critical time for the marine environment, and at a time when technological innovation in the marine sector is booming," Marouchos said in a media release on Thursday.

"Saildrones are long-range research platforms that can be sent to remote locations for an extended period of time, delivering real-time data back to scientists that was previously impossible to collect.

"The devices gather fundamental information about our oceans and climate using a powerhouse of ocean chemistry, meteorological and marine acoustic sensors.

"CSIRO is at the forefront of advances in marine engineering and technology, with a demonstrated track record in providing new tools and methods for world-class oceans research."

While the drones will be provided, the CSIRO will equip the vehicles with its own specialized sensors that measure ocean carbon.

Richard Jenkins, the Australian founder and CEO of Saildrone, said the partnership was a unique opportunity for the company in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Saildrone and CSIRO share the same passion for innovation and engineering to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing the world," Jenkins said.

"Autonomy is a key technology for accessing the southern oceans, which are understudied due to the rough seas and the limited number of vessels that regularly pass through the region."