Autonomous catamaran begins studying the Celtic Sea

The C-Enduro is powered by solar panels, a wind turbine and a diesel engine

The C-Enduro is powered by solar panels, a wind turbine and a diesel engine (Credit: ASV)

By  - August 20, 2015

Have you ever wondered why the Celtic Sea, located off the south coast of Ireland, is home to so many marine predators? No? Well, scientists at Britain’s National Oceanography Centre have. This month they set about finding out, using a long-endurance autonomous surface vehicle known as the C-Enduro.

"The Celtic Sea contains known hotspots for iconic and highly mobile marine animals such as the mighty fin whale," says project coordinator Prof. Russell Wynn. "However, we need a greater density of observations to really understand why these hotspots are so attractive to these animals … Marine robotic technologies give us the opportunity to have a persistent presence in these areas, and are changing the way in which we conduct science in the marine environment."

That’s where the C-Enduro comes in.

Made by ASV Unmanned Marine Systems, the 350-kg (772-lb) solar, wind and diesel-powered catamaran was launched from the Welsh town of Milford Haven on August 20th. For this particular study, it’s equipped with GoPro cameras, marine mammal acoustic detectors and a meteorological station.

Because it draws power from solar panels and a wind turbine, it could potentially remain at sea for up to three months, with its two brushless motors providing a maximum speed of 7 knots (13 km/h or 8 mph) via two propulsion pods. Even if it capsizes during that period, its self-righting carbon fiber hull should quickly get it back upright.

Although the craft is autonomous, ASV will be controlling some aspects of its operation by satellite from the company’s base in the English village of Portchester. An onboard collision-avoidance system will help keep the vessel from running into other watercraft.

The study is partially supported by the World Wildlife Fund, and also involves the use of an autonomous Slocum submarine glider. You can see the C-Enduro in action, in the silent video below.

Full article here C-Enduro

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Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 21, 2015 at 8:13am

Unlike the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship, C-Enduro has an onboard collision avoidance system to keep from running into other watercraft in the search area.

Regard,

TCIII AVD

Comment by Marty LaBelle on August 21, 2015 at 9:06am

This is the coolest thing I've seen today.. it's only noon, but this is sweet.

Comment by Sam Spade on August 21, 2015 at 2:24pm
Coyle: To the best of my knowledge, the only on-board marine 'collision avoidance system' that works at the moment is a pair of human eyeballs. What system are you referring to?

Admin
Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 21, 2015 at 3:25pm

@ Sam,

quoted from the article above " An onboard collision-avoidance system will help keep the vessel from running into other watercraft." Unfortunately no details were given, but I suspect that AVS might have some generalized details on their website?

Are your eyes good enough to spot a semi-submerged (awash) cargo container in the dead of night with no moon? I know that I can't.

Regards,

TCIII AVD

Comment by Sam Spade on August 21, 2015 at 4:54pm

Mr. Coyle:

Not only doesn't their site not give any details on an anti-collision systems, but it doesn't even mention the subject.  I thought, based on your comment, that you had details on the boast other than what we can all read in the post.

I am also not sure what a semi-submerged cargo container which is dead in the water has to do with a vessel that can run you down.  True, as nearly as I can tell from the video, this boat is small, light, and slow, so the damage would be small, unlike the monster called the Mayflower.  Still, it is concern to anyone sailing a small boat at sea.

Comment by Ravi on August 22, 2015 at 3:28am

I strongly think, the craft is quite light. in case of a collision the damage to the manned boat would be minimal. though C-Enduro can capsize. the objective is that there should be no loss of human lives. that is the reason I love drones. ofcourse they are using a collision radar. my conclusion is for the worst case scenario.

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