The University of Gothenburg soon will have its first autonomous underwater vehicle for research use. This will make it possible to conduct detailed studies of the seabed at great depths and track the climate thousands of years back in time.
After more than two years of preparation, the University of Gothenburg has signed a contract that will make Sweden’s first autonomous underwater vehicle for research use a reality.
“This underwater vessel will enable us to do research in areas that we have been unable to reach so far, such as underneath glaciers in Antarctica that are 500 metres thick and beneath the Arctic sea ice”, says Anna Wåhlin, a professor of oceanography at the University of Gothenburg.
Enabling detailed studies of the seabed
The vessel is known as an AUV, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. It is an unmanned, autonomous submarine equipped with a range of instruments and sensors capable of mapping the marine environment and measuring the ocean’s chemistry, physics and biology.
With the craft, detailed studies can be carried out at great depths in the oceans. The submarine operates independently and can be sent out on missions under the control of a mothership, where scientists can also be working on other investigations.
“To measure the marine environment to the extent necessary for understanding how the ocean works, we must make use of autonomous observation platforms on a much larger scale. Future research vessels will serve as motherships for many different autonomous vehicles, with our AUV being one of the largest and most complex.”
Large areas of the seabed can be surveyed
The new underwater vessel will be able to descend to a depth of 3,000 metres and cover a range of about 200-300 km. It is equipped with a new state-of-the-art navigation system that makes it possible to operate for long distances under water and simultaneously know where it is, a major challenge for craft below the surface of the ocean since signals from satellites or GPS cannot penetrate water. It is equipped with instruments that can be used to survey large areas of the seabed and ice in great detail. It also will have sonar that penetrates the floor of the ocean and reveals the nature of sedimentation in the past.
“That information can be used to tell how the climate has changed throughout history and how the edge of the ice has moved. In addition, the AUV will have ultramodern equipment to measure ocean currents, temperature, carbon dioxide, chlorophyll, nitrates and oxygen, among other things.”
Permits study of climate in the past
With the help of these instruments, scientists will be able to chart the ocean floor with such great resolution that they can determine the type of seabed, if it is clay or if coral grows there, and detect various types of phenomena such as contourites (convoluted sedimentary deposits on the seabed).
By peering into the seabed and sedimentation, scientists can also study the climate thousands of years back in time, conduct detailed studies of ocean currents and their chemistry and biology, and survey large areas of the ocean covered by ice. This will help calibrate the satellites that measure the expanse and thickness of ice. The underwater craft also will be used for investigations of water closer to Sweden – in the Skagerrak and the Baltic Sea, for example.
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is a national infrastructure, funded by a grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and managed by a project team with representatives from the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and Stockholm University. The contract with the Norwegian company Kongsberg AS has now been signed. The underwater vehicle is expected to be in operation next year at the latest.
Anna Wåhlin. Professor at the University of Gothenburg
firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 (0)31-786 2866
Photo: Kongsberg AS
Portrait Anna Wåhlin, Malin Arnesson
Press Officer Thomas Melin | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
A damming trend
17.12.2018 | Michigan State University
Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis
13.12.2018 | National Science Foundation
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
17.12.2018 | Studies and Analyses
17.12.2018 | Life Sciences
17.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering