Project PI: Dr. James Bellingham (WHOI PI), Amy Kukulya (WHOI)
Lead Institution: Woods Hole Institution
Supporting Team: Dr. Chris Reddy (WHOI), Dr. Mike Jakuba (WHOI)
The increasing level of commercial marine activity in high latitudes creates an ever growing risk of oil spills. Even in logistically accessible, ice-clear oceans, characterizing the extent and nature of a spill can be difficult as the Deepwater Horizon incident highlighted. We propose to develop an AUV-based approach leveraging a small, long-range system developed by the PI, called the Tethys Long-Range AUV (LRAUV). The LRAUV is helicopter-portable, allowing rapid response to incidents to provide situational awareness for first responders.
Outcomes of this project will be construction of a small long-range AUV (LRAUV) equipped with oil sensors and navigation systems, demonstration of the LRAUV survey capability, and creation of a simulator for gaming AUV deployments for oil spills. The resulting capability to survey oil spills at high latitudes and under ice answers an unmet need for DHS and the USCG.