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Unmanned Autonomous Sailing: Current Status and Future Role in Sustained Ocean Observations

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The use of unmanned autonomous sailing craft for sustained oceanographic observations could result in sea surface measurements that have higher spatial and temporal resolution than contemporary methods such as Lagrangian floats, moored buoys, manned expeditions and satellite observations. Mission-specific autonomous sailing platforms could provide energetically sustainable mission-specific systems to forecast environmental events and to trace the distribution of meteorological and ocean conditions over a long-term period. This paper briefly discusses the motivation for using wind-powered unmanned autonomous vehicles for oceanographic/meteorological measurements, comments on significant historical considerations, outlines some current and past work, introduces aspects of such a vehicle developed at Florida Atlantic University and concludes by presenting policy issues and recommendations for future work.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2009

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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