Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Robot Takes First Known Automated Sample from Ocean

NEC member Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) used a recently-developed hybrid vehicle to take the first sample from the ocean by a robotic arm.

The vehicle, Nereid Under Ice (NUI), was operated remotely by scientists off the coast of Greece to explore an active submarine volcano, as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Planetary Science and Technology from Analog Research (PSTAR) interdisciplinary research program. Only slightly smaller than a Smart Car, NUI used artificial intelligence to determine which sites to visit and when to take samples autonomously. NUI is one of the first results of a larger push for automation technology, with further developments promising results in not only independent ocean research, but for NASA’s work in exploring other planets.

“For a vehicle to take a sample without a pilot driving it was a huge step forward,” says Rich Camilli, an associate scientist at WHOI leading the development of automation technology. “One of our goals was to toss out the joystick, and we were able to do just that.”

The Council congratulates WHOI on this remarkable feat in ocean exploration and scientific advancement. Read more in Marine Technology News.

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