Platform

New R/V Skagerak delivered at SCOOT’s doorstep

It has been a long journey, since the new R/V Skagerak was ordered  by the University of Gothenburg back in 2013… But now she is ready! And SCOOT is glad to see her right outside of our space.

Overall, a berth at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg is the best alternative, as the quay can be easily adapted and there is proximity to university activities such as the SCOOT project and organisations such as MMT and SMHI.
Göran Hilmersson
Dean and head of the ship steering group

In an era of of robotics and accelerating automation of ocean observations, one might wonder if crewed research vessels really represent value for money? Sebastiaan Swart, director of SCOOT and head of the ship user group at University of Gothenburg, explains:

– Robots are great for going where ships cannot, like under a glacier, and for making long endurance missions. But research vessels are still indispensable. There are a multitude of ocean data collection that require a combination of advanced technology and human hands and eyes. For this we need vessels like the new Skagerak. In the future we will see ever more robots collecting ocean data, but we will not see fewer research vessels.

More about R/V Skagerak:

Small companies using big robot

She is a mighty beast, SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran: 7 meters long, weighing around 2 tonnes and with a sensor suite like a modern research vessel. In 2019 we demonstrated Ran to a number of SMEs, and in 2020 the startup company Marflow AB got a dedicated day of Ran operation. In March 2021 the turn came to three other small companies to operate and get data acquisition done by AUV Ran: SeAnalytics AB, Ten Island Seafarm AB and Bottenlusen / Vinga Konstruktion AB.

There are more SCOOT days in Ran’s calendar this year, in June and in August/September. Do you want to join? Click the buttons below.

"Our start-up has been a fantastic success, and now we want to grow. Through the support of SCOOT and the surveying done by AUV Ran we are well prepared for expanding our installations at sea. And it was great to work with Stephan Hagerling at Bottenlusen."
"The mapping done by AUV Ran was impressive: The details, the speed, the complete coverage of the area I wanted. I cannot see how I could have got this data in any other way. Through SCOOT I have also started an interesting collaboration with Ten Island Seafarm AB."
"The possibility of using AUV Ran for automated sampling of water in the monitoring of invasive species based on eDNA analysis is very important for us. It is a cost-effective way of covering a large area. Such an 'early warning' system is essential to mitigate invasive species."

Mobilization & preparations

Mission & data acquisition

Breaking: Ocean Infinity acquires SCOOT partner MMT

Yesterday came the news that our partner MMT is being acquired by another major within ocean surveying: Ocean Initity, the pioneer in the use of simultaneously deploying fleets of marine robots. At SCOOT we are excited about the possibilities for synergies!

"I’m glad we have found new owner who want to develop MMT in the future and who also has a lot of interesting technology for us to explore. This will not change our engagement in SCOOT or other arrangements we have, e.g. with the University."
P-O Sverlinger
CEO, MMT

Ocean Infinity today operates a large fleet of AUVs, similar to our flagrobot AUV Ran (owned by UGOT, mananged by MMT). Ocean Infinity’s Armada Fleet represents a coming leap in the use of surface-going ocean robots.

Do we need to say that there has been many comments and ‘Wow!’ on Twitter and LinkedIn and other fora… Here is the press release on the matter (pdf):

Ocean Changemaker: Berring Data Collective

We are extremely happy to share that Cooper Van Vranken has been selected as an ‘Ocean Changemaker‘ at the World Ocean Initiative, arranged by The Economist Group. Cooper is the founder of the Berring Data Collective. This is indeed a game-changer in ocean observing: Using fishing vessels to bring in high quality data from ocean regions where data is most desperately needed, including around Greenland. Check it out, it is already live!

Cooper was invited speaker at our online conference Ocean Data for Ocean Health in September. Afterwards he joined us for the follow up breakfast webinar on alternative platforms for ocean sensors. Cooper collaborates closely with Patrick Gorringe who works EMODnet Physics and at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Together they make data collected by fishing vessels available to all users, including ocean and climate researchers, operational forecasters and environmental monitoring agencies. Cooper and co-authors have published their work in Frontier in Marine Science.

AUV Ran before diving.

AUV Ran back in Sweden: Join the collaboration, tests and operations in 2021!

In 2019 SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran became first to conquer the depths under the ‘doomsday’ Thwaites Glacier. In 2020 Ran’s greatest achievement was the mapping of subsea landslides in the 2000 metres deep Kaikōura Canyon off New Zeeland (read news at NIWA and see their nice Ran pop video below!).

Now Ran is back in Sweden, and as always SCOOT makes her available for entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs. First out is a group of SMEs during an intense mission week in early February on the Swedish west coast.

Let us know if you want to join the collaboration/testing/operations, already in February and in the planned June session. We are not looking for AUV experts only. We are looking for anyone with ideas for utilising or collecting ocean data!

Ocean Data conference spurs collaboration!

September 29th at Nya Varvet and online

What a day… The conference Ocean Data for Ocean Health covered a lot of the themes SCOOT has been involved in the last two years. We hosted the event on September 29th at SCOOT’s space at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg, and we were happy to gather quite a number of old and new SCOOT people and partners.

The programme scratched on the surface of many urgent topics. SCOOT is committed to contribute to keeping up the momentum of this dynamic environment! (Just hosted breakfast meeting on sensors platforms of opportunity, see below.)

Especially intense for SCOOT was the final Block 4, demonstrating autonomous technology for collecting ocean data, see below.

Block 4: Demonstration of ocean robots

Autonomous vehicles

VOTO‘s research coordinator Louise Biddle and oceanographic technician Olle Petersson explain how gliders on and below the seasurface monitors the ocean.

Play Video
Next generation ocean observers!

Elsa and Jakob from the Science Club in Lysekil show their drifter Dynamene, built by Science Club and deployed in the morning, retrieving data live!

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Experimental platforms

Ola Benderius from Chalmers Revere lab and Robert Rylander from RISE Maritime research demontrate how knowledge from the automotive industry can be applied in the maritime domain. (Special appearance by flying drone from MMT Swden AB…)

Play Video

October 21st, breakfast webinar on tuna and fishing vessels

We were 6 persons having our morning coffee at Nya Varvet and another 6 joining the video meeting. Picking up from Sept 29th, we talked at some length about opportunities (and challenges) around data from tagged animals and from sensors mounted on fishing gear/vessels. Take home messages:

  • These data have huge potential to fill serious gaps in existing ocean monitoring programmes, where other and autonomous methods struggle. These gaps include shelf and coastal seas and marginal ice zones.
  • The cost-benefit relation is very good!
  • The infrastructure for collecting and distributing these data is rapidly expanding and maturing.
  • Challenges include subsurface communication and integration into existing monitoring data flows.

Recording from the meeting.

SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran investigates the effect of subsea earthquake

This is really AUV Ran doing her thing: Deep under, manoeuvring close to the bottom, using her vast sensor suit to scan the environment. This time it is for the benefit of researchers in New Zeeland, investigating the seabed of the 2000 metres deep Kaikōura Canyon. It was transformed by an earthquake in 2016; 850 million tonnes of sediment were displaced!

We expect Ran to be back in Sweden in January. Every once in a while she takes a rest behind SCOOT’s office/workshop at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg. Please contact us if you want use AUV Ran or if you just want to take look. We plan 10 operational SCOOT days for Ran in 2021.

Uncrewed and autonomous platforms – but not robots!

Tagging elephant seals with sensors gives unique data from the ocean around Antarctica

At SCOOT we are enthusiastic about using robotics for collecting ocean data. The reason is simple: Sensors mounted on crewed platforms (ships) will never manage to increase the amount of data needed to observe and understand our oceans.

However, an uncrewed platform does not have to be a robot – it can also be an animal! SCOOT’s Louise Biddle and Sebastiaan Swart show in a recent research paper in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans what wonderful friends ocean scientists can have in elephant seals, even though these heavy beasts are not famed for their friendliness when approached…

Biddle & Swart investigate climate critical processes in the marginal ice zone around Antarctica, where the ice cover is advancing and retreating seasonally. This is a region where the lack of data is especially severe. Small sensors attached to elephant seals provided Biddle & Swart with ocean data down to 500 meter depth, including locations covered by floating sea ice. The data was retrieved by direct communication with the sensors over satellite.

For anyone feeling that the paper by Biddle & Swart is to heavy, The New York Times picked up this fascinating research in an article, doing a good job at explaining some of the scientific concepts.

We should point out that all scientific work with animals, not least mammals, is strictly regulated. The elephant seals are not harmed or effected negatively by the attached instruments.

AUV Ran cooperates with start-up company Marflow AB

SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran is one busy two-tonne-piece of equipment. From the Southern Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and later this year off to New Zeeland. However, last month a window of availability opened… Startup company Marflow AB with founders Erik Nordborg and Glenn Hederot jumped on this opportunity.

Erik explains:

“Marflow aims to investigate and map ocean currents with very high accuracy. Precise measurements of the oceanic conditions in both time and space are valuable to us but indeed difficult to achieve in reality. AUV Ran will however allow us to do just that, studying ocean currents along with numerous other parameters with a spatial coverage that we have not been able to do before.”

“Marflow are very excited and happy for this opportunity to try AUV Ran and to discover what we can actually achieve with a tool like this. Before launching, Anna Wåhlin helped us setting up a course for Ran to follow. It was really impressive seeing AUV Ran navigating so accurately along this predefined route in relatively confined waters –all the time logging valuable data.”

Staff from MMT Sweden AB, attending to AUV Ran onboard (old) R/V Skagerak.
Evening work on AUV Ran, in between missions outside Härnösand, Sweden.
AUV Ran surfacing after mission, switching on light and releasing nose cone to facilitate recover. Outside Härnösand, Sweden.

Ocean robots: Expanding fleet and expanding competence pool

A new player has joined the ocean science community in Sweden: VOTO – Voice Of The Ocean. SCOOT is of course delighted that VOTO is a strong believer in automated methods of observations. VOTO has already a fleet of six ocean robots: 4 diving SeaExplorers by Alsemar and 2 surface going Sailbuoys by Offshore Sensing. SCOOT’s director Seb Swart and his team joined VOTO’s SeaExplorer course, read their report!

We will definitely hear more about VOTO and their ocean robots and the data they gather…