Operations of an Autonomous Surface Vehicle Aboard the NOAA SHIP Fairweather

TitleOperations of an Autonomous Surface Vehicle Aboard the NOAA SHIP Fairweather
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
AuthorsSchmidt, V, Downs, R
Conference NameU.S. Hydrographic Conference (US HYDRO)
Conference DatesMarch 19-21
PublisherThe Hydrographic Society of America
Conference LocationGulfport, MS

In late July of 2018, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) SHIP Fairweather set sail from Nome, Alaska for 10 days of survey above the Arctic Circle in the vicinity of Point Hope, Alaska. In addition to her four survey launches, she was outfitted with the Bathymetric Explorer and Navigator (BEN), an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) owned and operated by the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire. The effort marked the first deployment of an autonomous surface vehicle by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey in the Arctic for hydrographic survey. The collaborative endeavor aimed to build and test new operational models, introduce the crew to ASV operations, and identify (and where possible immediately fix) short-comings in the ASV’s mission planning interfaces, operator awareness, navigation capability, data collection and processing. This paper provides an overview of the cruise and those findings.