On behalf of our co-authors from Akvaplan-nivaBritish Antarctic SurveyCREEMNORUTSeiche Ltd and SMRU, we are pleased to announce our latest (open access) publication in Marine Pollution Bulletin A review of unmanned vehicles for the detection and monitoring of marine fauna

Recent technology developments have turned present-day unmanned systems into realistic alternatives to traditional marine animal survey methods. Benefits include longer survey durations, improved mission safety, mission repeatability, and reduced operational costs. We review the present status of unmanned vehicles suitable for marine animal monitoring conducted in relation to industrial offshore activities, highlighting which systems are suitable for three main monitoring types: population, mitigation, and focal animal monitoring. We describe the technical requirements for each of these monitoring types and discuss the operational aspects. The selection of a specific sensor/platform combination depends critically on the target species and its behaviour. The technical specifications of unmanned platforms and sensors also need to be selected based on the surrounding conditions of a particular offshore project, such as the area of interest, the survey requirements and operational constraints.

The publication highlights

  • Unmanned vehicles can improve marine animal monitoring for offshore industries.
  • Benefits include survey duration, mission safety, repeatability, and reduced costs.
  • There is no one-fits-all unmanned system solution for marine animal monitoring.
  • Platform/sensor configuration should be tailored to survey aims and target species.

Please feel free to download the article here:

Verfuss, U.K., Aniceto, A.S., Harris, D.V., Gillespie, D., Fielding, S., Jiménez, G., Johnston, P., Sinclair, R.R., Sivertsen, A., Solbø, S.A., Storvold, R., Biuw, M., Wyatt, R., 2019. A review of unmanned vehicles for the detection and monitoring of marine fauna. Marine Pollution Bulletin 140, 17-29.

The publication follows a cooperative project summarised in the report “Understanding the current state of autonomous technologies to improve/expand observation and detection of marine species” which was described by Dr. Olaf Boebel (Alfred Wegner Institute, Germany), an external report reviewer, as

“A high quality, in-depth and comprehensive report, covering all important aspects, with a critical discussion of each technology’s pros and cons.”

Find the full report in the Sound & Marine Life Programme library and can be found here.

This work was funded by the Joint Industry Programme on E&P Sound and Marine Life.