These self-sailing drone ships are helping to combat climate change. “Saildrone” is an aptly named company that has designed a self-sailing drone. Its newest fleet is traveling to the Southern Ocean to collect data on things like sea-surface temperature, salinity and ocean carbon, which can help monitor environmental health, better predict weather, and prevent overfishing, all in real time. The drone relies on wind power, like a sailboat, and has solar panels to power onboard instruments.
The Saildrone works with combination of wind and solar using this unique patented wing, we harness the wind energy to push the vehicle along and then we use solar to charge the batteries and that runs the computers on board.” Founder and CEO, Richard Jenkins stated.
Saildrones can sail for 12 months at a time. So far, the Saildrone missions have collected data across over 100k nautical miles.
CSIRO Research Group Leader, Andreas Marouchos stated, “There’s lots of opportunities to collect very interesting data with the Saildrones across Australian waters and particularly in areas of ocean energy research in the Southern Ocean and in Antarctic waters where we see very little vessel variability and vessel access and in areas such as the Great Barrier Reef, where we see lots of change.”