RRS Sir David Attenborough
A new polar ship for Britain
The ship will have the capability to deploy, operate and control large numbers of remotely piloted science instruments at the same time (i.e. both airborne and marine remotely operated vehicles and autonomous platforms) in polar regions.
This autonomous autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) was developed by the National Oceanography Centre. It is outfitted with the latest oceanographic sensors, battery technology and advanced satellite communication.
Before launch from the ship, the AUV’s computers are programmed with instructions of where to go, what to measure, and what depths to go to. With no link to the mother ship, all communications with the AUV are limited to using acoustics while the AUV is underwater.
Underwater gliders are a type of robotic underwater vehicle that uses an expandable oil-filled bladder to change the buoyancy of the vehicle instead of using a conventional propeller. As the liquid is pumped into or out of the bladder, the volume of the glider changes while its mass remains the same. As a result, its density changes and allows the device to rise or sink through the water. Its wings turn this vertical motion into forwards motion.
Gliders are very energy-efficient, making them a useful tool for gathering data from the oceans. They can be directed via two-way satellite communications link.