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Typically, a common oceanographic instrument known as an eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT)  are deployed by hand from research and cargo ships to collect a variety of data including temperature and depth. WHOI engineers Jeff O’Brien, Terry Hammar, and Dave Fratantoni (left to right) developed a robotic system that can automatically launch the probes and can be programmed to release up to 12 probes at specific times or locations, thus improving the efficiency of ocean data collection. AXIS (Autonomous eXpendable Instrument System) is currently installed on the M/V Oleander, a container ship that traverses the Gulf Stream between New Jersey and Bermuda weekly and the M/V Norröna, a ferry operating between Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. (Photo by Tom Kleindist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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