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Smartsound AutoNaut, scientific research vessel, equipped with sophisticated array of sensors

Most advanced unmanned, wave-powered research vessel operating in UK waters (AutoNaut) contains an array of sensors making scientific measurements both above and below the water line.  

Led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Smart Sound Plymouth is Britain’s premier proving area for designing, testing and developing cutting edge products and services for the marine sector, and is ideally suited for building and supporting the next generation of advanced marine technologies. This is achieved through multiple autonomous platforms deployed in an area of sea off the coast of Devon, covering a diverse environment. 

Scientists developing new marine technologies are able to test prototypes on innovative platforms such as the unmanned wave-powered scientific research vessel the PML Pioneer, a 5m AutoNaut maintained and run by Plymouth Marine Laboratory. The vessel is equipped with the most sophisticated array of sensors ever deployed on an AutoNaut, which measure a wide variety of parameters in the air and water around the vessel. These include a Gill MaxiMet GMX500 integrated weather station (circled) for providing meteorological parameters to scientists using the craft.

Dr James Fishwick, Head of SmartSound Plymouth and Head of Operations and Technology, Western Channel Observatory at Plymouth Marine Laboratory said “Gill units are chosen for this application because they offer a rugged, proven design from a well-established manufacturer of high quality meteorological instruments.  In addition, they offer a compact and low power solution required for use on autonomous vehicles with limited space and power availability”. 

University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, Plymouth City Council, The Marine Biological Association 



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