Navigation drones collect data for Great Lakes fisheries research – Homeland Security Today
On August 5, two unmanned surface vehicles will embark on a 45-day navigation mission through Lakes Michigan and Huron as part of a scientific study.
The US Geological Survey and Saildrone, Inc., launched the vehicles from Macatawa, Michigan on July 28. These ocean-going drones, called Saildrone Explorers, will begin collecting fishing data on Lake Michigan from August 5, sailing north into Lake Huron through September. The information gathered from the study will help inform the sustainable management of the $ 7 billion a year Great Lakes fishing industry.
Saildrones will use acoustic or sound technology to collect data on the distribution and density of fish around the clock. USGS scientists will use the data to better understand the effects of large vessel engine noise on sampling. and catchability of fish. This information will be used to support fisheries important to States, Tribes and possibly the Province of Ontario, Canada.
The 23-foot autonomous vehicles are powered by wind and solar energy and do not carry anyone. Sailboat-like drones have a 15-foot-high wing and weighted keel, and they carry a payload of scientific sensors and navigation and communications equipment on their hulls.
The acoustic technology used in the study is not hazardous to people or animals and will not interfere with sonar, communications equipment, or similar electronic devices.
For more information on USGS Great Lakes research, please visit the USGS Great Lakes Science Center website.
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