UK’s Natural Environment Research Council plans to invest £15 million in marine autonomous systems (MAS) and sensors over a five-year development programme.
A £10 million investment will be made through the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) for the development of a new 1500 meters depth-rated Autosub Long Range (ALR1500) and a new 6000 meters depth-rated autonomous underwater vehicle (Autosub6000 Mk2).
NERC will also invest up to £5 million in an open call for novel sensor development suitable for deployment on various submarine and surface platforms including the new MAS platforms.
“This investment will help develop ambitious new technologies for researching the oceans and maintain the UK’s world-class status in autonomous marine platforms,” said NERC’s chief executive, Professor Duncan Wingham. “It will also support specialised skills and training in this exciting area, producing the skilled scientists, engineers and technologists who will carry out innovative marine science in the decades to come.”
Professor Ed Hill OBE, the executive director of the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), said: “We see this investment as a further endorsement by NERC of the strength, excellence, and ambition of UK marine science, and this will see the UK leading new capabilities in developing new ocean observing technologies. NOC will be working with the wider marine science community to prioritise the investment in new autonomous platforms and marine sensor development over the five-year period.”