Autonomous and robotic vehicle showcase underway

The MARS fleet with RRS Discovery

Recent capital investment, as part of the UK Government ‘Eight Great Technologies’ initiative, means that the NERC Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) facility now comprises the largest and most diverse research fleet of marine autonomous systems in Europe.

A series of workshops and showcases are taking place this week to ensure that potential end users and industry partners are fully aware of the capabilities of the upgraded fleet, which includes Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and submarine gliders

The week of events has attracted over 220 delegates from the science, policy and business community. Included in the programme are showcases where the results of pioneering MARS deployment will be presented and where mechanisms for accessing MARS facilities, for example as part of future NERC and EU funding proposals, will be discussed.

In addition, a series of bolt-on workshops will target specific technical issues, such as legal and operational considerations of MAS deployments and take-up of new AUV technology for policy purposes. The NOC’s regular business breakfast meeting starts the whole event with a presentation and discussion around working with the NOC as a research partner and accessing knowledge, expertise and facilities that can enable businesses to explore new market opportunities.

Geraint West, Director of National Marine Facilities at the National Oceanography Centre said, “We’re rightly proud of the facility that we have here at the NOC, and so we’re thrilled the community has reacted so positively to this event, and that each of the sessions were filled so quickly. While it’s great to be able to showcase this cutting edge marine observation capability, the real priority is to get this to sea in support of our science community, so we’re looking forward to discussing how they want to use these systems, and the new scientific opportunities that they anticipate.

“This event is also a vital link to businesses to see how we can apply our leading research thinking into positive socio-economic impact, and with supporting funds available from both UK and EC sources, there has never been a better time to work with us.”

National Oceanography Centre with RRS Discovery in Empress Dock

Dr Russell Wynn, Chief Scientist of the MARS facility added “This series of events will allow potential users of MAS technology to hear from leading NERC scientists who are currently involved in MAS deployments. The aim is to inspire new ideas and innovative future funding proposals to ensure the UK remains at the leading edge of MAS-based marine research.”

Registration is now closed for this event, but you can stay informed by following the NOC on Twitter @NOCNews and searching #MARSShowcase. You can also sign up to receive our latest technology news via our new email alerts service NOC Mail.