Solar-Powered USV Conducts 21-Day Survey in GOM

SeaTrac Systems Inc., in collaboration with the Woods Hole Group (WHG), has successfully completed a 21-day, over-the-horizon deployment of SeaTrac’s SP-48 solar-powered USV in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The 15-ft. USV traveled over 800 nautical mi. in three weeks, operated 24/7 and navigated strong ocean currents (> 2 kt.) as it conducted a mission to map and monitor the Loop Current using an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP).

The goal of the mission was to evaluate the ability of the SP-48 to conduct survey work that has traditionally relied on large (> 170 ft.) conventional vessels that are expensive, carbon intensive and keep crews at sea for up to 60 days at a time. The data these vessels collect are vital for oil and gas stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico, and, thus, the ability to perform this type of data collection with a solar-powered USV (or fleet of USVs) would lower the cost and environmental impact of this critical monitoring activity.

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