The Saildron Surveyor is a brand new autonomous research vessel manufactured to spend months at sea mapping the seafloor with powerful sonar devices. While also scanning the ocean surface for genetic material, to identify fish and other marine organisms swimming below, at the same time.
The Drone’s carbon-fiber composite and stainless steel hull can navigate by itself, following a preprogrammed route to collect and transmit oceanographic data back to Saildrone headquarters using a satellite link. In time, the designers hope that the solar-powered Surveyor might replace existing oceanographic research ships that cost much more to operate, and leave a substantial carbon footprint.
"Our goal is to understand our planet,” says Richard Jenkins, the founder and CEO of Saildrone. The California firm has spent the last 15 years designing previous versions of vessels that are about a third as big as Surveyor. “There are many reasons why you need seafloor information, from knowing where to place telecommunications and transoceanic cables, to safety of navigation, or looking for submerged seismic faults that cause tsunamis.”
There is also a variety of uses for this new technology including:
building out new energy infrastructure: Developers of wind farms have to know the underlying geological conditions before sinking the structures into the seafloor. “There are also economic needs as we transition to renewable energies. Wind farms require substantial mapping to build the wind turbines,” says Jenkins.
Another sensor can be used to sample the DNA that is shed from the mucus, skin, and excrement of sea animals. Meaning that scientists don’t need to harvest fish to collect data. The DNA samples are then analyzed in real time, and the results are then sent back to shore along with the ocean circulation data and mapping. Knowing the kinds of fish and other animals that live in an area is important for regulators when setting the size of commercial fishing limits, as well as marine areas that need to be protected.
We don't want to 'drone on' (apologies... we'll get our coats...) about our Stainless Steel, and whilst we don't make Drones we do manufacture high quality bespoke Stainless Steel products.
Images by Saildrone