THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
The English Channel being well known as one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, with hundreds and thousands of commercial crossings between England and France per year. What’s to say a small underwater robot that could be used to collect impactful scientific data couldn’t do the same?
We later discovered that there’s no recorded attempt of a vessel like the SEABER YUCO Micro-Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) crossing the open waters between the two countries.
So that’s exactly what we planned to do…
On the 29th of April 2023 the small but mighty YUCO, weighing just 10kg and measuring under one metre in length, became the first micro-AUV to successfully cross the English Channel from Folkestone, England, to Wissant, France. The pioneering crossing, a partnership between RS Aqua and SEABER, took less than 8 hours.
To maintain accurate navigation and keep the mission on track, the YUCO resurfaced a total of three times during the crossing to re-establish its location using GPS.
RS Aqua’s Ocean Scientist, Nathan Hunt, shedding some light on this marvellous achievement – “Prior to the introduction of micro-AUVs, collecting scientific data in coastal environments always had challenges – be it spatial coverage, funding, time, weather, or types of data that could be collected”, he expressed.
“With the introductions of micro-AUV platforms like the YUCO, data collection has become vastly more attainable and accessible to a wide range of users; from large energy corporations to smaller research institutes. The YUCO channel crossing has further highlighted the reliability and endurance of the platform, helping bridge the gap between large-scale metocean monitoring, and small-scale coastal research.”.
The aim of this mission was primarily to demonstrate the YUCO’s capabilities on the 39km underwater route between England and France. The navigation, accuracy and battery capacity of the YUCO were put to test. The success of the channel crossing is a high testament to the YUCO’s spectacular capabilities; the YUCO stayed on course and completed its mission with an impressive 35% of battery power remaining.
Compared to the more traditional and larger AUV technologies, micro-AUVs are becoming increasingly popular as they are more portable, easy-to-use, and affordable for consumers.
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM RS AQUA
“The YUCO micro-AUV Channel crossing is a world first. At RS Aqua we are committed to enabling the further discovery of our oceans, and the whole team are extremely excited and proud to have made this happen in partnership with SEABER.” added Martin Stemp, Managing Director at RS Aqua.
For more information about the SEABER YUCO, here.
Photo Credit: SEABER, FR
Talk to one of our advisers
Get in touch with us for further information or for a conversation about any of our innovative and reliable ocean technology systems, sensors or services.