Successful Trial For Unmanned Vessel Off Scilly

One of the underwater gliders found on Bryher last year

One of the underwater gliders used in the trial

A British built, wave-propelled scientific research vessel has successfully returned to Scilly following an autonomous 13-day mission off the islands.

The AutoNaut, named ‘Gordon,’ was built for the National Oceanography Centre and towed a 25m hydrophone array.

It’s equipped to measure weather station data, sunlight, chlorophyll levels and seawater quality. It also has cameras that have successfully captured images of seabirds offshore and surveyed marine litter.

Gordon travelled at a depth of 4m as part of a flotilla of five unmanned surface vessels and three underwater ‘gliders,’ which went half way out to the continental shelf. During its voyage it weathered a 70 mph Atlantic storm.

In early November it will be sent to Plymouth to monitor tagged fish.