SAN DIEGO—NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego are partnering to improve how unmanned systems (UxS) are used to collect important ocean observations and augment NOAA’s operational capabilities.
This 10-year agreement provides a framework for Scripps Institution of Oceanography and OMAO’s new Unmanned Systems Operations Program to collaborate on specific projects to further UxS research, development and operations.
“Innovative use of unmanned systems will benefit many NOAA programs—augmenting data collection often at lower cost, increased safety, and reduced risk, especially in remote or extreme environments,” retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator said in a released statement.
The agreement also helps NOAA meet the objectives of the Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Technology Act of 2018, which requires NOAA to coordinate research, assess and acquire unmanned marine systems with the U.S. Navy, other federal agencies, industry and academia.
One of the first projects under this partnership includes developing recommendations for the structure, staffing and training needs of the unmanned maritime systems component of the new OMAO program. The project also includes the design, outfitting and testing of a persistent, unattended unmanned surface vessel with a meteorological and oceanographic data payload to collect operational data.