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NOAA, UC San Diego Partner to Develop Unmanned Systems for Maritime Data Collection

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has enetered into an agreement with the University of California (UC) San Diego to further research and development efforts on unmanned systems to support maritime applications.

UC San Diego said Wednesday its Scripps Institution of Oceanography will work with the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) to conduct a 10-year effort to improve the capacity of unmanned systems to collect ocean observation data.

Ongoing efforts under the partnership include the development and testing of an unmanned surface vessel to obtain oceanographic and meteorological data to support entities like the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations initiative.

The team is also working to establish a framework for meeting the staffing, training and operational needs of a new unmanned maritime systems unit within OMAO.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, the deputy administrator of NOAA, said the agency intends to combine its fleet and aircraft resources with Scripps’ R&D expertise to drive “innovative use of unmanned systems” such as data collection in remote or extreme environments.

According to UC San Diego, the agreement comes as part of NOAA’s efforts to achieve goals under the 2018 Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Technology Act.

NOAA and Scripps are also collaborating with the University of Southern Mississippi to support a new unmanned systems facility in Gulfport, Miss.