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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with Gulper Samplers

June 1, 2010

Autonomous underwater vehicles are robotic, untethered submersibles that are programmed at the surface, then navigate through the water on their own, collecting data as they go. The MBARI AUV can measure physical characteristics of seawater, such as temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, detect chlorophyll from microscopic marine algae, and measure concentrations of small particles in the water. This AUV is unique in that it carries “gulper” samplers that can collect up to ten 1.8-liter water samples while traveling through the water. The AUV also uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence software to decide where to go and when to collect its water samples. Engineers can program the on-board computers to help the AUV find an algal bloom or other feature of interest, and then map its boundaries, as well as to take water samples both within and outside the feature. After the AUV is recovered, its water samples can be analyzed, including DNA analysis to determine what types of algae, bacteria, or other microorganisms are present. Credit: MBARI