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…
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.
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.
On May the 8th we open the SCOOT doors at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg, to anyone interested in the ocean, data from the ocean and methods for collecting ocean data. Come and meet the researchers and the robots! Most of all, come and tell us about your ideas: SCOOT wants to support your innovation. Read the full program. SCOOT open is part of #gbgtechweek and #EUinmyregion.
If you are first to go under the under Antarctic ”doomsday glacier” (and making it back!), you will get headlines. SCOOT’s flag robot, AUV Ran, together with professor Anna Wåhlin and her team feature both in rock ‘n’ roll magazine Rolling Stone and in a radio show from PRI’s The World. Links:
As always, SCOOT wants to put hardware and data in the hands of people with ideas. Interested in AUV Ran? Please contact us. She will be back from Southern Ocean in time for hands on workshop 17 – 20 June on Bornö at the west coast of Sweden.
What an achievement! Professor and Scoot board member Anna Wåhlin (bottom left in photo) tweets: “OMG we did it – we went under Thwaites ice shelf!! We have water samples, bathymetry and ocean physics from underneath the 300-500 M thick ”doomsday glacier”. The Swedish AUV Ran was first. So so proud of our team!!” More about this on GU web.
Now the really interesting part. If you are an entrepreneur, innovator or researcher with ideas about measurements in the ocean or data from the ocean, Scoot makes the AUV Ran available for YOU. Interested? 1) Contact us, 2) meet us at Scoot open house, 8 May at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg, 3) join us for a hands on workshop at the classic oceanographic station on Bornö in the Gullmarn fjord, 17 – 20 June.
SCOOT director Sebastiaan Swart leads the major research project ROAM-MIZ, using sensors mounted on ocean robots/drones to investigate the marginal ice zone in the Southern Ocean. Information and near-real-time output from the sensors are available at the project website. The drones currently operating in the Southern Ocean include the diving (to 1000 m depth) Seaglider and the surface glider Sailbuoy, both available pro bono in the SCOOT offer to entrepreneurs, SMEs and researchers. Interested? Contact us!