Big robot fleet takes to UK waters

A fleet of marine robots is being launched in the largest deployment of its kind in British waters. Unmanned boats and submarines will travel 500km (300 miles) across an area off the southwestern tip of the UK. The aim is to test new technologies and to map marine life in a key fishing ground. Seven autonomous machines are being released in a trial heralded as a new era of robotic research.
Two of the craft are innovative British devices that are designed to operate for months using renewable sources of power including wind and wave energy. The project, led by the National Oceanography Centre, involves more than a dozen research centres and specialist companies. Chief scientist Dr Russell Wynn told BBC News: "This is the first time we’ve deployed this range of vehicles carrying all these instruments. "And it’s exciting that it’s the first time we can measure everything in the water column and all the life in the ocean simultaneously. "The ability to measure the temperature or the weather at the ocean surface, or dolphins and seabirds with the cameras on the vehicles – no-one’s ever been able to do that at the same time hundreds of miles from the shore."