The uncrewed, autonomous, Saildrone Surveyor has arrived in Hawaii after its maiden voyage from San Francisco to Honolulu.
uring the 28-day voyage, the Saildrone Surveyor sailed 2,250 nautical miles and mapped 6,400 square nautical miles of seafloor.
The vessel used renewable wind and solar energy for its primary power source. The data it collects will help address issues impacting the world including climate change, offshore renewable energy, natural resource management, and maritime safety.
Namely, the Surveyor’s sensors interrogate the water column looking at underwater ecosystems and map the seafloor in high resolution to a depth of 23,000 feet (7,000 m).
The data quality from the Surveyor is of very high quality, as good as anything we have seen from a ship. Due to the wind-powered nature of the vehicle, it is very quiet, and this enables the very accurate acoustic measurements needed to map to these depths
said Larry Mayer, director for the UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM).
Moreover, Richard Jenkins, Saildrone founder and CEO. added that the team managed to solve the challenge of reliable long-range, large-payload remote maritime operations.
With this successful proof of concept voyage, Saildrone will now build a fleet of Surveyors to be manufactured at US shipyards. Saildrone intends to map the entire earth’s oceans in the next 10 years.