The PML Pioneer, a futuristic unmanned surface vessel, has been launched into the sea off the coast of Plymouth, where it will form part of Smart Sound Plymouth's fleet of interconnected marine technologies.
The high-tech AutoNaut, one of only two of its kind in the UK and the only one to be regularly deployed in UK waters, set out on its maiden voyage across Plymouth Sound and the Western Channel Observatory.
Over the coming years the vessel, propelled by wave motion and powered by 300-hundred watt solar panels, PML Pioneer will travel across the area collecting valuable environmental data that will contribute to important research into the climate.
The vessel contains the most advanced scientific payload to be deployed from an AutoNaut and includes state-of-the-art chemical sensors and a photosynthetic efficiency and rate sensor. As part of the Smart Sound fleet, the Pioneer will be able to communicate with a flotilla of autonomous underwater ecoSubs and the recently-launched autonomous data buoy.