AutoNaut Unveiled at Oi 2014

AutoNaut®, a revolutionary wave propelled vessel for ocean research, was launched yesterday at Oceanology International in London.

Built by MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Ltd. for very long endurance autonomous data gathering the 3.5 metre AutoNaut also harvests solar energy at sea to power her state of the art electronics. The new unmanned surface vessel (USV) uses motion from the ocean to propel herself, silently, with stability and zero emissions.

Fresh back from sea trials with AutoNaut in Scotland founder Directors David Maclean and Mike Poole are on hand at Oi 2014 to explain her potential and answer questions as visitors get their first chance to see the unique vessel.


In sea trials off Oban a few days ago AutoNaut’s high tech platform control system enabled her to follow tracks between waypoints within a few metres, automatically calculating the allowance for tide and wind as she progressed at around 2 knots, on all headings relative to the wind and waves.

AutoNaut was released to operate autonomously, with control from ashore through 24/7 Iridium satellite communications. She also logged weather and seawater data from sensors installed on the mast and through the hull.

The 3.5 metre AutoNaut USV on show is built for a contract under the Government-backed Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to develop vehicles – known generically as Long Endurance Marine Unmanned Surface Vehicles (LEMUSV) – that will carry out sustained marine research over long periods.

The Technology Strategy Board and Natural Environment Research Council jointly fund the programme with supplementary funding of additional elements from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

AutoNaut represents a new level of capability for very long endurance ocean research and data gathering. The patented wave propulsion technology is scalable, so larger boats can offer more speed, carrying capacity, and payload power.

Other specific AutoNaut USV advantages are persistence, really only limited by antifouling needs,” said Mike Poole, “zero emissions, a good speed – up to 3 knots for a 3 metre hull – ample payload power which can be boosted with a methanol fuel cell, and ease of deployment by trailer off a slipway, or from a ship.”

These attributes in turn make possible not only cheaper data gathering, but also better continuity and granularity of data in all weathers.

AutoNaut offers the possibility of autonomously networking other underwater assets from the surface to shore, or remote support ship. And she can act as an unmoored buoy, so saving mooring costs.


March 11, 2014

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