GREEN4SEA Conference & Awards

5 Apr 2017
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GREEN4SEA Conference & Awards

5 Apr 2017
Learn More

New autonomous underwater vehicle on first Antarctic mission


The National Oceanographic Center has announced that its Autosub Long Range is joining ocean scientists from the University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on an expedition to study some of the deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on earth – known as Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) – and how they affect climate change.

Engineers from the NOC will assist the team of researchers to assess water flow and underwater turbulence in the Orkney Passage, a region of the Southern Ocean around 3,500m deep and roughly 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula.

Autosub Long Range is the latest type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed by the NOC.

Dr Maaten Furlong, Head of Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems explains

“We have a long history of developing and operating autonomous underwater vehicles in support of UK science with our first science campaigns in the late 1990s.  More recently we have been pioneering the development and use of long range underwater and unmanned surface vehicles”

“The deployment of Autosub Long Range in the Antarctic expands our robotic vehicle capability and places us at the forefront of AUV development”

Autosub Long Range is now known as “Boaty McBoatface”, following last year’s campaign by the Natural Environment Research Council to name the UK’s new polar research ship. While the ship will be named after famous naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, the popular winner of the contest – “Boaty McBoatface“– lives on in the form of an unmanned submersible that is now embarking on its first Antarctic research mission.

This research is funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Source & Image credit: NOC

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