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Explore Uncharted Waters: Saildrone's Ocean Mapping Mission

Embark on a journey of discovery with Saildrone as we navigate uncharted waters and unlock the secrets of the ocean depths. Our unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) are revolutionizing ocean mapping, filling gaps in our understanding of the world's vast marine ecosystems.

In July, Saildrone launched one of its advanced USVs into the northern Pacific Ocean, targeting the Aleutian Islands and the coast of California for comprehensive mapping and data collection. These regions, despite being part of one of the world's largest exclusive economic zones, remain largely uncharted and unexplored.

Traditional methods of seabed mapping using crewed research vessels are fraught with challenges, including high costs, time constraints, and safety risks for personnel. Saildrone's innovative approach leverages autonomous technology to overcome these obstacles, offering a cost-effective and efficient solution for ocean exploration.

Our Surveyor SD 1200, a state-of-the-art USV equipped with cutting-edge technology, embarked on a mission to map the remote and little-explored regions of the US EEZ. With a length of 20 meters and a wing height of 13 meters, the Surveyor boasts impressive capabilities, including an average speed of 5 knots and the ability to accelerate to 10 knots when necessary.

Powered by photovoltaic panels and an auxiliary diesel system, the Surveyor collects a wealth of environmental data, including acoustic, oceanographic, and meteorological measurements. In collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the Surveyor also utilizes advanced technology to take DNA samples from the environment, providing valuable insights into marine biodiversity and ocean health.

Despite facing challenging conditions, including 35-knot winds and waves exceeding 5 meters, the Surveyor successfully mapped over 16,000 square kilometers of previously unexplored seabed around the Aleutian Islands. Continuing its journey, the Surveyor ventured to the California coast, uncovering a previously unknown 1,000-meter-high seamount.

Brian Connon, vice president of ocean mapping at Saildrone, hailed the success of the mission, emphasizing the potential of long-range USVs in advancing ocean exploration. Funded by organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Oceanic Energy Management, this multi-partner project represents a collaborative effort to expand our understanding of the marine environment.

As we process the data obtained during these groundbreaking missions, Saildrone remains committed to sharing our findings with the global scientific community. Through open access to data and ongoing collaboration, we aim to pave the way for future discoveries and innovations in ocean mapping and exploration. Join us on this extraordinary journey as we chart new territories and unlock the mysteries of the deep blue sea.

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