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.
“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.”
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…
The image above shows our autonomous surface vessel SB Kringla being retrieved after the first of two magnificent field seasons. Now she will be upgraded with both an acoustic sensor for measuring currents and an alternative “high wind” sail.
The new sensor will be a Doppler Current Profiler by Aanderaa AS, measuring from the surface down to 30 -50 meters (depending on conditions). SCOOT is proud to be an early adopter of this sensor on an autonomous platform. Measuring the currents in the ocean surface layer can for example tell interesting things about air-sea interaction and the transfer of wind energy to the ocean, especially together with surface wind data, which SB Kringla is already measuring. The new sail is slightly smaller and more optimised for the high wind conditions in the Southern Ocean. Sails are easily switched between deployments. The upgrade (sensor and sail) will be done by Sailbuoy’s manufacturer, Offshore Sensing AS in Norway.
SB Kringla is the first Sailbuoy to be deployed on the Southern hemisphere. SCOOT’s director Sebastiaan Swart often refers to her as “the cute one”, which does not imply that she is spared in any way! Kringla has repeatedly earned battle scars and proven herself as an ultra robust platform in the harshest conditions of the Southern Ocean (see posts from first season and second season). Data from SB Kringla (and the diving Seaglider robots) can be viewed at the website of the project Robotic Observations and Modelling of the Marginal Ice Zone.
The upper video shows a snapshot of SB Kringla during first operator training in Gothenburg. The lower video shows a Sailbuoy battling a storm on the North Sea.
Louise Biddle summarizes the Austral winter-spring season for this robotics heavy project:
The ROAM-MIZ (Robotic Observations And Modelling in the Marginal Ice Zone) project aims to capture high resolution observations of how the upper ocean near and under sea ice responds to sea ice growth or melt. The team, led by SCOOT’s director Sebastiaan Swart at the University of Gothenburg, deployed multiple platforms in, and at the edge of, the marginal ice zone in austral winter and spring 2019. Using the South African icebreaker, the SA Agulhas II, as a deployment platform, three profiling ocean gliders (Seagliders), a surface glider (Offshore Sensing Sailbuoy), multiple wave-recording surface floats (SWIFT buoys) and two ice-moored buoys were deployed between 56-60°S. Between the 10 platforms, over 370 days of data were collected from this remote and under-sampled region of the Southern Ocean, with the longest continuous time-series of over 130 days.
The challenges that the deployment team and platforms faced included rapid freezing up of sensors in temperatures that dropped to minus 20°C (before wind chill), rough seas and rapid movement of sea ice floes. With support from collaborators around the world including CSIR (South Africa), CalTech (USA) and University of East Anglia (UK), this project has demonstrated that autonomous instrumentation holds the capability to explore and monitor some of the most inaccessible oceans on Earth. Data is now being processed by the team based at the University of Gothenburg, with the “live data” viewable on roammiz.com and the first paper recently published in Geophysical Research Letters. Projects update can be followed on @PolarGliders .
Paper: Swart, S., du Plessis, M. D., Thompson, A. F., Biddle, L. C., Giddy, I., Linders, T., et al. ( 2020). Submesoscale fronts in the
Antarctic marginal ice zone and their response to wind forcing. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2019GL086649. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL086649
For the last 20 years, we have used Remotely Operated Vehicles and cameras to monitor the Kosterhavets National Park (click images above for example videos!). A highly-diverse and unique marine reserve in the south of Sweden. Now, we need your help identifying the habitat, species, and presence of litter recorded in over 3,000 hours of underwater videos.
Your answers will allow us to filter out crucial information from the recordings and study how the fauna on the sea floor has changed in response to warmer waters, fishing activities, and changes in environmental protection.
Submerge yourself among large sponges, starfish, and cold-water corals to help us understand the health of the Koster’s sea floor and how we can better protect it.
Words from project owner Victor Valdes
“We are excited to bring you a new way to dive into Sweden’s first marine national park. By classifying the underwater videos you will explore our unique marine biodiversity and enable us to better understand the health of Sweden’s marine ecosystems.”
The Saildrone is one of the most advanced autonomous ocean surface platforms. SCOOT is very pleased to announce that they are visiting us in Gothenburg. They will give an open presentation on October 1st. Welcome!
DATE: Tuesday 01 October 2019, 12:15 pm LOCATION: Carl Skottsbergs Gata 22B SPEAKERS: Sebastien de Halleux, COO, Liz Douglas, International Partnerships
Working with a variety of institutions and governments globally, Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar powered unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale and in near real-time. Saildrone USVs carry a full suite of ocean and meteorological sensors, with the option to include other instruments for research such as air-sea fluxes, biomass, bathymetry, and carbon and . Saildrones have been successfully deployed for months in challenging regions of the global oceans.
In this workshop, Sebastien and Liz will detail Saildrone’s capabilities and report on recent missions in the Southern Ocean, the North Sea, the Atlantic, and upcoming missions in the Mediterranean. Typical investigations in these regions include measuring air-sea fluxes and how they may be impacting global energy, hydrological, and carbon cycles. Sebastien and Liz will give a live demo of the Mission Portal, followed by an open discussion regarding in-situ observation needs and challenges from participants.
Difficult winds will unfortunately mean that the SunChallenger II will not make to Gothenburg on June 19. Constructor Jonas Blanck will nevertheless be there and explain his project.
On Wednesday June 19, SCOOT will welcome the newly launched SunChallenger II to Gothenburg. SCOOT is an eager friend of the SunChallenger project. SCOOT director Seb Swart leads the welcoming committee, which includes representatives from GU, MMT Sweden AB, Chalmers University of Technology and Research Institutes of Sweden. Everybody is invited to join us! The event is hosted by MMT Sweden AB and takes place at Nya Varvet, starting in the marina at 9.30 am. After lunch we continue with a seminar/discussion about what to expect from projects and platforms such as the SunChallenger.
SCOOT is active in SubTechSweden, a network of actors who want to strengthen innovation in underwater technology in Sweden. SubTechSweden now releases NRIA-U 2019 (National Research & Innovation Agenda for Underwater Technology). The agenda has a very clear main recommendation: Sweden needs “a joint programme for underwater technology, funding and coordinating basic research, applied research and demonstrations (TRL 1 – 6)”. NRIA-U 2019 is an updated version of NRIA-U 2016.
SubTechSweden emphasises that the underwater innovation area can help to meet the UN sustainability goals, the Government’s Maritime Strategy and Sweden’s underwater capability (decided by the Government to be a “significant national security interest”). NRIA-U 2019 mentions specifically the need for underwater technology in ocean science, monitoring, spatial planning and management. The achievements of SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran under the Antarctic ice shelves are mentioned as a good example of innovation, together with platforms for infrastructure inspection, illustrated with MMT’s Surveyor Interceptor.
What is a drone? Most people imagine something flying, but to the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova, a drone can just as well be vehicle on or under water. SCOOT takes advantage of this wide definition to take part in Vinnova’s programme “Drones of the future”. SCOOT will demonstrate autonomous launch and recovery of the unmanned 60 kg Sailbuoy (Offshore Sensing AS) by the unmanned 500 kg SP SeaCat (SP Marine Tech).
The demonstration is part of Drone Center Sweden’s demo days on May 14th – 15th in Västervik, South-eastern Sweden. The SCOOT demo is part of the water session on the afternoon on the 14th. Even in the water session, we will be the only project demonstrating drones actually on the water… The project is a collaboration between University of Gothenburg, Research Institutes of Sweden Chalmers, University of Technology, Alkit Communications AB, SP Marine Tech AB, Depåservice AB.