NOC MASSMO Project
RS Aqua, well established as one of the UK’s foremost marine scientific equipment suppliers, are the principal supplier and a key industry stakeholder to the UK NOC’s high profile MASSMO project. RS Aqua supplied three Liquid Robotics® Wave Gliders, high specification RBR profiling CTDs and Vemco acoustic fish tracking systems for each of the different autonomous surface vehicles, as well as Iridium satellite data from JouBeh Technologies, allowing constant communication with the surface vehicles. RS Aqua acting as a key industry stakeholder and technology advisor to all project partners, consulted throughout on multiple sensor choice and sensor integration, mission planning, data acquisition and contingency planning. RS Aqua also supplied personnel to assist with commissioning and deployment of the Wave Gliders from the Scilly Isles (SW of the UK).
Liquid Robotics Wave Glider
The three Wave Gliders, which use only wave and solar energy for propulsion and on board power, can be deployed for many months at a time. One of the Wave Gliders is being jointly piloted between Liquid Robotics in California and CEFAS in Lowestoft, UK, with the other two Wave Gliders being piloted by MARS glider pilots from the NOC Southampton. Over 300 Wave Gliders are now in operation globally.
High specification RBR profiling CTDs are installed on one of the Wave Gliders as well as the MOST and ASV vehicles. RBR CTDs were chosen due to their high specification (meeting or exceeding all rivals) and their unique Wi-Fi communications and ease of use, enabling quick and easy configuration and data offload between profiles.
Vemco Fish Tracking
The industry leading Vemco fish tracking systems on the MOST and ASV vehicles communicate with tiny Vemco tags on fish to send data about fish behaviour and position to the autonomous surface vehicles as well as to a moored receiver array. This important fish behavioural data, analysed by the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, is used to research and manage endangered fish stocks in UK waters.
RS Aqua’s managing director, Martin Stemp says “We are proud to be supporting such an exciting and cutting edge project which sees us working closely with some of the world’s leading oceanographic research institutions, scientists and manufacturers. We have been working round the clock with colleagues from NOC, CEFAS, Liquid Robotics and others to set up and deploy the Wave Gliders and the project is now collecting vital scientific data in unique ways, demonstrating the incredible capabilities of autonomous marine vehicles”.