A statement from CSIRO said Saildrone, a company based in San Francisco, had earned a five-year contract to deploy its unmanned ocean surface vehicles in Australian waters.
This will expand the marine and climate monitoring that the CSIRO carries out, with more information about sea-surface temperature, salinity and ocean carbon being collected.
It will also help in the development of the next generation of marine and climate technologies.
The Saildrones on trial off San Francisco.
They can be controlled remotely and are equipped with both automatic identification systems (AIS) and ship avoidance systems to alert and avoid other ocean users.
The CSIRO says it will collaborate on development of Saildrone technology beginning with equipping the vehicles with specialised sensors designed to measure ocean carbon, provide biomass estimates in the water column, and add to the existing marine and atmospheric sensors.
CSIRO Research Group leader Andreas Marouchos said the organisation would initially manage three Saildrones deployed from Hobart.
“This research partnership comes at a critical time for the marine environment, and at a time when technological innovation in the marine sector is booming,” he said.
“Saildrones are long-range research platforms that can be sent to remote locations for an extended period of time, delivering real-time data back to scientists that was previously impossible to collect.
“The devices gather fundamental information about our oceans and climate using a powerhouse of ocean chemistry, meteorological and marine acoustic sensors."
Australian Saildrone founder and chief executive Richard Jenkins said: “Saildrone and CSIRO share the same passion for innovation and engineering to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing the world.
“Autonomy is a key technology for accessing the southern oceans, which are understudied due to the rough seas and the limited number of vessels that regularly pass through the region.”
Photo: courtesy CSIRO