Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems

The vehicles within the Marine Autonomous Robotic Systems (MARS) group are definitely some of the most eye-catching tools a scientist can use.  These high-tech pieces of equipment allow scientists to explore the oceans in ways that previously weren’t possible.

An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) doesn’t need a human to operate it and therefore doesn’t need a direct link to a ship or an operator.  This allows the vehicles to explore difficult to reach areas.  But exploring new environments and using new technology comes with a certain amount of risk.  Our Risk and reliability group works towards understanding these challenges and increasing the chances of success.

Our vehicles

Autosubs - Gliders - ROVs

Autosub6000 being launched on cruise JC027MARS has the three types of completely robotic submarines AUVs called Autosub.  We have taken Autosub to many exotic areas, including Greenland and Antarctica, where it investigated the dark mysterious ice caverns under floating ice shelves, and the deep Caribbean, where it helped discover the world deepest “black smoker”  hydrothermal vent.  The Autosub team have built up, over nearly 20 years, a worldwide reputation in the design, improvement and operations of these yellow submarines.

MARS also operates another type of AUV the glider.  Gliders don’t have a conventional propeller, but ingeniously glide up and down through the ocean by pumping oil in and out of an external bladder to make them alternately  rise and sink.  We now have total of 11 gliders in the fleet.

Latest news

You can follow the progress of the MARS Autosub and Glider expeditions through our regular MARS newsletters:


application/pdf iconNewsletter 10 - March 2014


application/pdf iconNewsletter 8 - April 2013 application/pdf iconNewsletter 9 - June 2013


application/pdf iconNewsletter 7 - November 2012  application/pdf iconNewsletter 6 - August 2012  application/pdf iconNewsletter 5 - May 2012  application/pdf iconNewsletter 4 - February 2012


application/pdf iconNewsletter 3 - November 2011  application/pdf iconNewsletter 2 - September 2011  application/pdf iconNewsletter 1 - July 2011


application/pdf iconAutosub6000 news 3 - October 2009  application/pdf iconAutosub6000 news 2 - September 2008  application/pdf iconAutosub6000 news 1 - October 2007


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The outputs of research generate new knowledge about the oceans. Transferring scientific knowledge to support business and industry is an important part of our NOC remit.



Our research is intended to tackle the big environmental issues facing the world. Research priorities will include the oceans' role in climate change, sea level change and the future of the Arctic Ocean.



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The creation of a wider association of Universities and research institutions to support wider engagement of the NOC with the marine science community is now underway.



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