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Satellites to Seafloor: Toward Fully Autonomous Ocean Sampling

Thompson, Andrew F. and Chao, Yi and Chien, Steve and Kinsey, James and Flexas, M. Mar and Erickson, Zachary K. and Farrara, John and Fratantoni, David and Branch, Andrew and Chu, Selina and Troesch, Martina and Claus, Brian and Kepper, James (2017) Satellites to Seafloor: Toward Fully Autonomous Ocean Sampling. Oceanography, 30 (2). pp. 160-168. ISSN 1042-8275. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2017.238.

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Future ocean observing systems will rely heavily on autonomous vehicles to achieve the persistent and heterogeneous measurements needed to understand the ocean’s impact on the climate system. The day-to-day maintenance of these arrays will become increasingly challenging if significant human resources, such as manual piloting, are required. For this reason, techniques need to be developed that permit autonomous determination of sampling directives based on science goals and responses to in situ, remote-sensing, and model-derived information. Techniques that can accommodate large arrays of assets and permit sustained observations of rapidly evolving ocean properties are especially needed for capturing interactions between physical circulation and biogeochemical cycling. Here we document the first field program of the Satellites to Seafloor project, designed to enable a closed loop of numerical model prediction, vehicle path-planning, in situ path implementation, data collection, and data assimilation for future model predictions. We present results from the first of two field programs carried out in Monterey Bay, California, over a period of three months in 2016. While relatively modest in scope, this approach provides a step toward an observing array that makes use of multiple information streams to update and improve sampling strategies without human intervention.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Flexas, M. Mar0000-0002-0617-3004
Erickson, Zachary K.0000-0002-9936-9881
Branch, Andrew0000-0002-9877-6944
Claus, Brian0000-0003-2335-6053
Kepper, James0000-0001-6559-7846
Additional Information:© 2017 The Oceanography Society. This work is funded by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (generously supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation) through the project “Science-driven Autonomous and Heterogeneous Robotic Networks: A Vision for Future Ocean Observation” ( Portions of this work were performed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170926-082746905
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Thompson, A.F., Y. Chao, S. Chien, J. Kinsey, M.M. Flexas, Z.K. Erickson, J. Farrara, D. Fratantoni, A. Branch, S. Chu, M. Troesch, B. Claus, and J. Kepper. 2017. Satellites to seafloor: Toward fully autonomous ocean sampling. Oceanography 30(2):160–168,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81824
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Sep 2017 16:15
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:46

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