To top
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

With the help of deep sea robots, our oceans could be more inhabitable for endangered marine life and exotic vegetation.

A group of 19 European research organizations have vowed to monitor the ocean for pollution, changes in profiles and unnatural sedimentary formations, using a powerful robot. The European Union Horizon 2020 program has injected $8.6 million in fresh funds to streamline the development of the unit.

BRIDGES glider guide

Taking on the Deep Sea

It takes a very special type of machine to withstand the unforgiving sea. For this project, the group is in the final stages of developing the Bringing together Research and Industry for the Development of Glider Environmental Services (BRIDGES) Glider.

The oceanic robot is capable of reaching depths up to 5,000 m (16,400 ft). That’s deep enough to reach roughly 75 percent of the world’s oceans. It can be used for three months onboard research vessels or cruises. Such features are ideal for screening assignments, where the unit scans an area that is potentially being harmed from local mining operations.

To cater to the specific needs of each mission, the team may switch out various parts around the craft, such as the nose cone, sensors and other external components.

“The development and integration of sensors that can work at these depths will be a real challenge. It is something that has not been done before and so the science behind it is really innovative. Furthermore the range of sensors this glider can carry makes it well suited to a wide range of applications, both within research and industry,” said Dr. Mario Brito from UK’s National Oceanography Center (NOC).

“This glider will be designed to meet a well constrained reliability target, which will really help to ensure successful operations in the future.”

Testing for the promising glider is currently ongoing. Its final test will be on September 2019 off the southeast coast of Ireland. The trials will focus on protocols for machine failure under compromising conditions. Through the analysis, the team hopes to minimize usability risks during expeditions and autonomous operations.

sedimentary plumes

Sedimentary Plumes

BRIDGES is designed to monitor for sedimentary plumes through a set of highly advanced, sensitive sensors. The locators can be found at the nose of the robotic head.

The build up of sediments occur naturally, sometimes caused by melting ice sheets passing through glacial channels. However, plumes can also develop through dredging, reclamation and mining. The long-term effects of such occurrences are devastating to oceanic ecosystems.

Over time, the man-made formations can lessen the foraging opportunities for nearby fish. It can also disrupt natural migration patterns and hamper the repopulation efforts of rare sea animals. Operations that contribute to massive plumes usually leave a trail of pollutants due to heavy machinery that was used or left behind.

“The NOC is really pleased to have the opportunity to work so closely with so many SMEs, and to use the world class expertise here to help them grow and produce a European first in submarine glider technology,” highlighted Kevin Forshaw, Director of Enterprise and Research Impact at the NOC.

Leave a Reply

We are on Instagram