This winter, as part of the JERICO-RI European Infrastructure JERICO-S3 project, the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will access the SmartBay Observatory.
The main objective of this access is to demonstrate the use of fibre optics and artificial intelligence to unobtrusively record data on a variety of marine processes within the cable area such as cable health, marine noise and seabed temperature. NOC will demonstrate the sensing capability of an optoelectronic interrogation unit (OIU) by connecting it to the existing seafloor cable installed at the SmartBay Observatory.
This is part of a larger project which will see the technology trialled in different environmental conditions at three test site locations in Europe; SmartBay in Ireland, PLOCAN in the Canary Islands, and OBSEA in the Spanish Mediterranean.
The OIU comprises a unique combination of distributed optical fibre sensing features with bespoke Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence algorithms to capture a large data stream (1Gb/s) of information with the view to using them for real-time visualisation of the environmental dynamics surrounding the cable.
The trials entail the connection of the OIU to the existing fibre optic cable at SmartBay which is now ongoing. The data recorded will be compared against the data collected from the conventional sensors installed on the SmartBay Observatory and the results from this will be used to validate the technology, opening up new avenues for further research and commercial use cases.
Speaking about the access granted, Dr Mohammad Belal from NOC said: “The proposed research has transformational potential for ocean and earth systems monitoring. Outcomes from this project will open new areas of geoscience, hazards and marine infrastructure interactions research with unparalleled space-time granularity over a long-range, albeit with remote single-ended fibre accessibility.”
Alan Berry from Marine Institute said: “This research will introduce a truly disruptive ability to densely sample the marine environment in space and over time. The ability to continuously, reliably and simultaneously monitor several natural and anthropogenic activities will have far-reaching benefits to the marine research community and related maritime industries.”