autoevolution

Pioneering Robot Submarines for Arctic Research Are Getting Ready in Loch Ness

No news about the Loch Ness Monster, but there’s a new robot submarine being tested in the most famous Scottish lake.
The Autosub Long Range (ALR) vehicle is a robot submarine for ocean exploration 4 photos
NOC's ARL6000NOC's ARL6000NOC's A2KUI in Loch Ness
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in UK has developed a state-of-the-art version of the Autosub Long Range (ALR) vehicle, a robot submarine that will be used for shore-based scientific missions and under-ice exploration. In preparation for a major arctic expedition set to take place in 2022, NOC engineers are conducting trials in Loch Ness, from May 18 to May 29.

The name “Boaty McBoatface” might sound familiar to some of you, because it was what the public wanted to name a research vessel launched by the British Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), a few years back. The ship ended up with a more respectable name, RRS David Attenborough, but the people’s favorite name was passed on to the yellow submarine that accompanied the vessel.

Well, the ALR that is now swimming in Loch Ness is the upgraded version of that submarine. It can reach depths of up to 19,680 ft. (6,000 meters) and it can navigate in areas that were previously unreachable for boats, such as close to melting icecaps or under them. NOC is developing a fleet of 6 ARLs that can be deployed for almost 3 months. And the plan is to pave the way for an upcoming expedition to the melting Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica.

This represents the latest phase of Oceanids, a UK government-funded project for the development of Marine Autonomous Systems, which began in 2016. Just like in other sectors, robotic vehicles can provide more cost-effective solutions and take marine research to the next level, thanks to the possibility of exploring challenging areas. Plus, using autonomous vehicles reduces the negative impact on the environment.

Besides the ALR, there’s also a new Autosub 2000 Under-Ice vehicle (A2KUI) that’s undergoing in-water trials. Equipped with powerful sensors, it’s designed to operate in some of the most difficult environments.

Hopefully, we’ll hear about Boaty McBoatface in the near future, when it will embark on its important Antarctica expedition.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories