Boaty McBoatface, the yellow submarine belonging to the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), is joining ocean scientists from the University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on an expedition to study some of the deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on earth – known as Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) – and how they affect climate change.
McBoatface carries the name that a public poll had suggested be given to the UK's future £200m polar research vessel now named after famous naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.
The public's suggestion was deemed inappropriate by the UK Government and instead was used for the Autosub Long Range class of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed at Southampton's NOC.
Engineers from the NOC will assist the team of researchers to assess water flow and underwater turbulence in the Orkney Passage, a region of the Southern Ocean around 3,500m deep and roughly 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula.
Autosub Long Range is the latest type of AUV developed by the NOC.
Dr Maaten Furlong, Head of Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems, said: “We have a long history of developing and operating autonomous underwater vehicles in support of UK science with our first science campaigns in the late 1990s. More recently we have been pioneering the development and use of long range underwater and unmanned surface vehicles”
“The deployment of Autosub Long Range in the Antarctic expands our robotic vehicle capability and places us at the forefront of AUV development”
The DynOPO (Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow) expedition will travel to the Southern Ocean aboard the BAS research ship RRS James Clark Ross, departing Punta Arenas in Chile on March 17, 2017. The researchers will use a combination of specialised instruments deployed from a ship, instruments moored to the seafloor, as well as measurements made by “Boaty”, to measure ocean turbulence.
Autonomous systems will be explored at PTI's Terminal Automation & Training C-Level Networking Conference from April 19-20, 2017, in London, UK.