If you meet an unmanned ship in the Atlantic, it might not really be a ‘ghost ship’

70% of the surface of the "Blue Star" that human beings depend on is the ocean. The vast ocean is the home of many creatures and an important part of regulating the earth's climate. Therefore, the understanding and exploration of the ocean has become a long-term task for human beings.

▲ Picture from: NASA

Most oceanographic sampling is done via research trips by marine scientists or via moored data buoys and smaller autonomous devices, among others. However, the scope of exploration of smaller autonomous devices is limited. For research trips, there are ships, crews responsible for sailing, marine scientists responsible for observation, recording and analysis, and various instruments and equipment to carry. too high.

▲ Picture from: Ship Technology

It can be seen that the currently commonly used solutions have limitations that cannot be ignored. To this end, Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the United Kingdom commissioned M Subs Ltd to design and build a long-range autonomous marine research vessel – Oceanus.

One of the things that stands out about the Oceanus autonomous research vessel is that it is unmanned. When complete, Oceanus will conduct transatlantic sampling voyages from the UK to the Falkland Islands, and will also carry an array of monitoring sensors to collect data on research in areas such as climate change, biodiversity, fisheries and biogeochemistry.

▲ Picture from: Plymouth Marine Laboratory

To achieve its goal of traveling without any crew and getting the job done, Oceanus will carry an advanced scientific payload and use the latest artificial intelligence technology to navigate the optimal route through real-time input fed by weather forecasts and other ocean data Navigate to the target location.

In addition, the AI-enabled ship will be guided by GPS and two onboard weather stations, and it will also utilize a 4G/5G module and two satellite communication domes to transmit real-time data and status updates to the command center at Plymouth Labs .

According to plans announced by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Oceanus will be about 23.5 meters (77 feet) long and 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) wide, capable of self-righting, and has two rear-mounted pods to drive motors, which will be powered by battery packs.

▲ Picture from: Plymouth Marine Laboratory

While fuel-efficient diesel engines will still be used, supplemented by onboard micro-energy generation equipment and on-deck solar panels, combined with no need to reduce weight with onboard crew and living facilities, fuel-efficient compared to traditional manned research vessels Consumption will still be greatly reduced.

It is worth mentioning that the idea of ​​building Oceanus came from the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS, Mayflower Autonomous Ship), which was also built by M Subs Ltd. Without human involvement, MAS navigates by the power of artificial intelligence and automation.

▲Mayflower Autonomous Ship, picture from: IBM

The AI ​​captain on the MAS collects data from multiple sources, constantly assessing the ship's route and state and planning for the next step; cameras and computer vision scan to spot hazards; meteorological data streams to look for potentially dangerous storms; machine learning and automation Software ensures decision-making is safe and compliant…

▲ Picture from: IBM

The name Oceanus comes from the first child born on the original Mayflower in 1620. While plans for when construction will be completed and when transatlantic voyages begin are unclear, with autonomous ships exploring, more specific and frequent data collection on a wider scale could help fill gaps in datasets, Let human beings know more about the ocean.

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