Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS) investment
In 2017, NERC invested £15 million into Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS) and sensor development.
A £10 million investment was made through NERC's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global marine science and technology innovation by developing a new 1500m depth-rated Autosub Long Range (ALR1500) and a new 6000m depth-rated autonomous underwater vehicle (Autosub6000 Mk2). This will support future under-ice and deep-ocean science, including a number of major marine research programmes such as the Changing Arctic Ocean programme.
There has also been investment in command-and-control systems for efficient fleet management, and new equipment to support the NERC-EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Smart and Autonomous Observing Systems, called NEXUSS (NEXt generation Unmanned System Science).
NERC also invested up to £3·4 million towards the development of the next generation of miniaturised, low-power sensors for increased endurance and capability, awarded through a capital call that was run in 2016. The resulting sensors are being integrated into the marine autonomous systems currently available or such as those described above being developed at NOC - one of only half a dozen or so large oceanographic institutions world-wide, capable of undertaking and supporting global-scale ocean science. The outcomes of this call are contained within the link below.
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