World's most advanced autonomous research vehicle completes ocean crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii

HONOLULU, March XNUMX / PRNewswire / - The unmanned, autonomous Saildrone Surveyor will arrive in Hawaii today after a groundbreaking maiden voyage from San Francisco to Honolulu.

While ocean crossings are nothing new to Saildrone's autonomous surface vehicles, the Saildrone Surveyor is a new, much larger class of vehicle optimized for deep-sea mapping. During the 28-day voyage, the Saildrone Surveyor sailed 2.250 nautical miles and mapped 6.400 square nautical miles of the seabed.

The Saildrone Surveyor uses renewable wind and solar energy as its primary energy source and is the only vehicle in the world that is able to map the ocean for long periods of time without a crew. The valuable data it collects will help address issues that affect our world, such as: B. Climate change, renewable offshore energy, natural resource management and safety at sea.

At 22 meters (72 feet) in length and weighing 14 tons, the Saildrone Surveyor carries a sophisticated line of acoustic instruments that are normally carried on large, manned survey vessels. The surveyors' sensors query the water column to study underwater ecosystems and to map the ocean floor in high resolution to a depth of 7.000 m (23.000 feet).

The multibeam sonar data from the Saildrone Surveyors was calibrated and assessed by an outside team from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), which usually calibrates large government survey vessels. "The quality of the data from the surveyors is very high, as good as anything we've seen from a ship," said Larry Mayer, director of the UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM). "The wind drive makes the vehicle very quiet, and this enables the very precise acoustic measurements that are necessary for mapping at these depths."

The ocean covers more than 70% of the planet, but over 80% is not yet mapped and unexplored. The lack of exploration of the oceans is largely due to the high cost of access to our oceans, which is traditionally done with large ships. These ships can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to manufacture and hundreds of thousands of dollars a day to operate. The Saildrone Surveyor represents a paradigm shift in the cost of sea access. It does the same job as a survey vessel, but at a fraction of the cost and carbon footprint.

"This successful maiden voyage marks a revolution in our ability to understand our planet," said Richard Jenkins, Saildrone Founder and CEO. “We have solved the challenge of reliable remote maritime operation with a long range and high payload. Offshore surveying can now be done without a large ship and crew; this completely changes the economic efficiency for our customers. Based on this achievement, I look forward to applying Saildrone Surveyor technology to other markets normally reserved for large ships, such as homeland security and defense applications. The impact of a low carbon solution on these critical maritime missions is significant. "

With this successful proof-of-concept trip, Saildrone, Inc. from California will now build a fleet of surveyors to be built at US shipyards. Saildrone plans to map all of the world's oceans over the next 10 years.

Information about Saildrone

Saildrone is a US small company that designs, manufactures and operates a fleet of the most capable, proven and trusted unmanned surface vehicles (UPS) in the world. Mainly powered by wind and solar power, Saildrone UPSs have a minimal carbon footprint and are equipped with advanced sensors and ML technology to provide critical data and information from every ocean and every season. The solutions include maritime domain awareness, ocean data and ocean mapping. Saildrone operation and data collection services are encrypted and secure.

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