CANBERRA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- A team of autonomous sea-faring drones that will be used to gather ocean data has been unveiled by Australia's peak scientific body.
The devices, known as Saildrones, can remain at sea for up to 12 months at a time.
They will be deployed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to measure and monitor the temperature, biota, salinity and ocean carbon of the sea surface.
"Our partnership with Saildrone and the Australian Government builds on our investment in marine research infrastructure for the nation and supports CSIRO's strategy for cutting-edge research which facilitates the monitoring and mitigation of climate change," CSIRO Chief Executive Officer Larry Marshall said in a media release on Friday.
"The fleet of Saildrones may be small in stature, but their ability to autonomously monitor and collect rich streams of data at sea for up to 12 months makes them truly unique in terms of the value they can deliver industry, the research community and ultimately our biggest customer - the nation."
A team of CSIRO technicians has spent the last week equipping the drones with powerful ocean chemistry, meteorological and marine acoustic sensors.
Rather than needing to bring the devices back to shore to change equipment or sensors for different purposes, they can be controlled and their systems can be accessed from anywhere in the world using a smartphone.
"We have never had an opportunity like this before," CSIRO scientist Bronte Tilbrook said.
"By combining advanced sea faring sensing technology, we will be able to capture more data over longer period of time and provide credible information back to government, industry and the community."
The drones will be deployed from Tasmania beginning in early April.