NOC Launches Robotic Gliders To Kickoff Mission To Investigate Iceberg In South Atlantic

NOC Launches Robotic Gliders To Kickoff Mission To Investigate Iceberg In South Atlantic

Robotic Gliders

A series of images recently released by the UK’s Oceanography Centre reveals their launch of robotic submarine gliders from James Cook.  These robotic glider images directly hint at the beginning of a four month expedition undertaken to look into the South Atlantic giant A68a iceberg – needless to say one of the biggest ever.

The Oceanography Center, NOC, typically supplies the leading technology scientists use, so it has now developed an application that is programmed to add satellite data to tools used for piloting. This will help the gliders make measurements regarding temperature, seawater salinity, and chlorophyll near the iceberg area. The submarine robots will be led by a group of experts from Southampton, where NOC’s leading centre is located.

Comments from Maaten Furlong, Head of the NOC’s marine robotic systems at NOC, offers more insight. According to him, NOC has developed a leading web app that specially focuses on piloting and managing data transferred from ocean robots from long ranges.

The web app also deploys satellite data to help in directing the robotic gliders from any location on the planet. He adds that, as part of efforts to accomplish this sublime mission, the NOC will use varieties of gliders capable of bearing sensors comprising a personalised combination. This comes as a result of various science campaigns where the requirements of the mission were concluded.  

Fulong includes that, the goal of the advanced piloting software is to make specific operations easier to undertake. For this mission, the software will be adapted to show the position of the A681 via satellite data.

It would then allow the NOC to take the robotic gliders near the ice, enabling them to take necessary measurements. The NOC projects that these measurements can offer its science a deeper understanding of A68a’s impact on marine life and the larger environment.

The web application will not only help to pilot current operations and manage data, but in fact, its piloting system is rather automated, which means pilots can now take control of more vehicles at a time.

The system helps to carry out routine status and health checks during deployments. Planning algorithms will also be deployed in generating vehicle instructions to boost the collection of data for individual mission requirements.

In the past, collecting data was only possible by using sensors fixed on large research ships. However, this method is costly, plus it also makes data capture possible for a short period, while creating high carbon emissions.

Leigh Story, NOC’s marine facilities Associate Director also commented. According to him, in the last ten years, NOC has operated and developed many ocean robots and research ships with the primary aim of helping scientists in the United Kingdom to understand how the ocean works.

They are not alone in this mission, as there has been significant support from the United Kingdom’s research and development system. These efforts combine to erase carbon footprints related to marine research. He concludes that the UK is the leading force in this area, with the NOC at the frontline.

NOC teams are working with teams from Britain’s Antarctic Survey, in achieving this historic mission. The latter is motivated to investigate how freshwater from melting ice affects another ocean region in which colonies whales, seals and penguins live.

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