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OceanX expands scientific frontiers with Maritime Robotics’ Otter Uncrewed Surface Vessel

OceanX, an organization with a mission to support scientists in exploring the ocean and bring their findings back to the world, is renowned for its engaging storytelling about the wonders of the ocean, using cutting-edge science and technology to capture and share fascinating discoveries, has recently made an exciting acquisition the Otter Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) from Maritime Robotics.

Posted by:
Vera Susanne

November 16th, 2023

Left side view of the Otter USV vessel with the SeaSight add-on in the coastal ocean.

The Otter USV has been carefully selected by OceanX to be part of its impressive collection of innovative technology and solutions that can be found on the most advanced exploration, research, and media ship, the OceanXplorer. The ship was designed and constructed to push the boundaries of ocean exploration, facilitate groundbreaking scientific research, and document stories of discovery to share with the public worldwide.

The Otter is a fully electric, 2-meter uncrewed surface vessel designed for shallow water surveying, capable of mapping sheltered and enclosed waters that might be dangerous or difficult to reach with a manned vessel. The operator can navigate the Otter using remote-control or mission planning with waypoint control using the Maritime Robotics’ vehicle control station. The carefully developed vessel technology enables tight integration with a range of different sensors, making the Otter USV a sustainable, cost-effective, and safe platform for sheltered water operations. 

Front view of the Otter USV vessel with the SeaSight addon in the water.

The Otter USV in action. Image copyright: OceanX.

Before its deployment, Maritime Robotics received a tour of the OceanXplorer, and was granted access to some of the cutting-edge facilities on the ship. Upon arrival Maritime Robotics was welcomed by Craig Foy, OceanX Science Systems Technical Coordinator, and the tour was led by Mattie Rodrigue, OceanX Science Program Director. Rodrigue and Foy introduced some of the various technologies that enable the team to capture the essential data and stunning visuals during their expeditions, the Otter USV being among them. Rodrigue explained how OceanX would use the Otter USV for data collection in sheltered or enclosed waters that may prove challenging to access during manned missions. She also mentioned that utilizing the data gathered with the Otter USV would increase efficiency in combination with manned operations.

One of the things we really believe in at OceanX is to bring people down into the environment they are studying. We have a full-scale diving facility that allows divers to physically get in the water and collect the samples and data from the areas they are studying. By using autonomous technology, we can fully map an area, and then select sites for the divers to focus their efforts. This can allow us to be a lot more efficient in our data acquisition and sampling.
- Mattie Rodrigue.
OceanX´s Otter USV by Maritime Robotics in the Norwegian fiord.

Image copyright: OceanX

OceanX holds exceptional expertise in ocean data collection and is no stranger to utilizing new technologies for improving the quality and accuracy of their data acquisition. Greater amounts of data offer greater knowledge about the planet and how to protect it. Rodrigue sees autonomous and remotely operated vessels as a great opportunity to effectively gather ocean data whilst reducing CO2 emissions and risk exposure.

There is so much we do not know about our own planet, and we have only just scratched the surface when it comes to our knowledge about the ocean. The only way that we are going to understand more about the ocean and how it is rapidly changing in the face of threats like climate change and other anthropogenic pressures like plastic pollution is by collecting more data.

Autonomy is going to be excellent for scaling up and increasing the rapid data acquisition and processing so that we can make science-based decisions about the protection and conservation of the oceans.
- Mattie Rodrigue

We, at Maritime Robotics, greatly appreciate the warm welcome from OceanX while visiting the OceanXplorer. We are proud to see OceanX utilize our technology  as they undergo important excursions and operations on their mission to unlock the secrets of the ocean.