TheÂ Department of Homeland Security‘s science and technology directorate has partnered with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and DHS’ Arctic Domain Awareness Center to buildÂ an autonomous underwater vehicle to helpÂ the U.S.Â Coast GuardÂ gather under-ice data.
DHS said Friday that WHOI-developedÂ sensor packages and search algorithms thatÂ will be integrated onto the TethysÂ long-range AUV platform in support of efforts to aid the Coast Guard’s response to potential oil spills offÂ the Alaskan coast.
The LRAUV will be transported via a helicopter and deployed to an open water zone close to an environmental hazard to perform missions in areasÂ that may be too dangerous for humans, the department added.
DHS intends forÂ the vehicleÂ to help collect data the Coast Guard canÂ use to develop response plans.
James Bellingham, director of WHOI’s marine robotics center, said the nonprofit research organization aims to help the Coast Guard gain a capacity to understand incidents as soon as possible to have enough time for response.
“Given the additional complexity of conducting response operations in ice infested waters, whether in the Arctic or in the Great Lakes, having the ability to detect and characterize the oil extent under ice can greatly enhance effective response actions,” said Capt. Joseph Loring, chief of the Coast Guardâs Office of Marine Environmental Policy.
“Integral to effective response operations is knowledge of where the oil is and predicting where the oil may go,” Loring added.