Pioneer Array AUVs

Three propeller-driven, battery-powered Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), carrying a broad suite of sensors for interdisciplinary observations, will be used at the Pioneer Array. AUVs can run continuous missions of up to several days and are small enough to be deployed and recovered from a small boat.

Two AUVs will be deployed for long-duration operation from the EOM Surface Mooring docking stations, running synchronized, synoptic sampling missions of ~100 km along- and across-shelf. The baseline AUV missions will be 200 – 250 km of total track length within a region of about 80 by 80 km centered on the moored array. The AUV will perform up to 25 missions before being recovered for maintenance.

The AUV missions will be user-controllable via satellite link directly to the vehicle (while on the surface) or through the EOM mooring (when docked).

A third AUV will be operated via day-trips of a small (~60 ft) coastal vessel and will have three purposes: 1) to provide adaptive sampling and event-response capability without interrupting the baseline AUV missions, 2) to serve as a replacement vehicle if the baseline missions cannot be accomplished due to malfunction, and 3) to provide regular comparisons of moored bio-optical sensors with freshly calibrated sensors (on the vehicle) as a means of mitigating sensor degradation during long-term deployment.

Docking Stations

AUV docking stations represent a transformative capability to be implemented for OOI that is not presently available as a commercial product or demonstrated to be operational for long durations. Power for two AUV docking stations will be supplied by a multi-function node (MFN) at the base of the inshore and offshore EOM moorings. The use of docking stations will extend the duration of AUV deployments, allowing for multiple missions between deployment and recovery. The OOI AUV Requirements specify 25 missions over a deployment period of 120 days before the AUVs will be recovered for service and support for up to 35 missions over 210 days before the docking stations will need service.