The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has partnered with the University of California San Diego to explore the use of unmanned systems in ocean observation operations.
NOAA said Wednesday its Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography will jointly support research and development activities for the agency's Unmanned Systems Operations Program over 10 years.
“Innovative use of unmanned systems will benefit many NOAA programs—augmenting data collection often at a lower cost, increased safety and reduced risk, especially in remote or extreme environments," said retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, who serves as assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA's deputy administrator.
The effort also supports 2018's Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Technology Act that directs NOAA to engage in collaborative unmanned marine technology research with entities from the government and other sectors.
The partnership will include a project that focuses on OMAO's workforce, training and structural needs with regard to unmanned maritime systems. NOAA will perform its unmanned maritime systems activities at a new Mississippi-based facility.