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Technology

The NOC is a pioneer of ocean technology - pushing the boundaries of endurance and capability every single time we make a deployment. Though decades of hard won experience at the forefront of ocean measurement, the lessons we have learned are carried forward to generation after generation of ocean going platforms and sensors.

The methods of tidal prediction used today across the entire world were conceived by us. The thousands of Argo floats in the world’s oceans have their origins in the Swallow Float, developed by us in the 1960’s. We deployed one of the world’s first autonomous underwater vehicle in the mid 1990s, and more recently have been pioneering the use of co-ordinated fleets of underwater and unmanned surface vehicles. We have tens of thousands of hours of successful autonomous missions to our name.

This legacy is fuelling today’s innovation. We continue to develop technologies which enable us to have a persistent presence in the ocean, and through our Marine Robotics Innovation Centre, these technologies are now developed in partnership with some of the UK, and the world’s, leading commercial companies.

The impact of this continuous innovation is our ability to make more measurements, ever more cost effectively and in increasingly challenging environments. We are also contributing to the economic growth of the sector in the UK through the creation of high skilled jobs and by attracting overseas investment.

Current Technology Development

Marine Robotics Innovation Centre

Incorporating specialist engineering and test facilities and modern office space, the centre provides a nurturing environment for collaborative engagement and development

  • A new centre built on solid foundations
  • Bringing ideas to life, and putting them to the test
  • A space to work, and a place to meet

Read more of the The world-leading Marine Robotics Innovation Centre here

Technology Development

Scientists and engineers at the NOC are continuously working on the development of new and innovative technologies to aid in the advancement of scientific research undertaken in the most extreme environments. With a wealth of experience and over 20 years of design and development history, the NOC is leading the way in the advancement of marine technologies.

A great amount of care and time is spent creating designs, prototyping, developing and testing new vehicles and sensors that will be able to endure oceanic conditions.

Depending on the application, our technologies must withstand a wide variety of environmental conditions including, crushing pressures, cold temperatures and the varying weather conditions of the oceans. This equipment must provide the scientific community with reliable and repeatable data to assist in answering the big science questions. With deployments varying from hours to decades, one of the challenges our engineers face is the endurance and durability of the equipment.

Technology developed at the NOC ranges from sensors the size of a fingernail that are able to measure chemical parameters in the ocean, to large deep-submergence platforms able to carry a multitude of instruments and sensors and, capable of making measurements from the surface to the depths of the ocean.

As a leading centre for oceanographic research, our new technologies are enabling us to travel past the boundaries of conventional measurement techniques in order to explore and understand the most remote regions on our planet.

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are the future of marine science. The ability to explore the oceans and collect data via unmanned, untethered robotic vehicles has greatly increased our scope of the oceans. New and innovative autonomous vehicles being developed at the NOC are pushing the limits on how we can explore our oceans, with capabilities allowing us to reach new depths, travel under ice, take readings in remote areas and collect data during high sea states.

Read more on Autonomous Vehicles here

Instruments and Sensors

Oceanography is a science that is highly dependent on observations and measurements. Developing new instruments and sensors is important part of work undertaken at the NOC. We cannot yet buy instruments that will measure everything that interests scientists, so we aim to work with them to develop new technologies.

Read more on Instruments and Sensors here

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers at the NOC provide engineering design, small-quantity manufacture, assembly and support for operations. Combining the use of sophisticated 2-D and 3-D drawing packages with their deep knowledge of what can work in the harsh marine environment, our engineers design and develop a wide range of equipment, from sub-assemblies for complex autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to simple clamps for attaching instruments to frames.

Read more on Mechanical Engineering here. 

Electronics, Software and Communications

Gathering oceanographic data from our autonomous vehicles over extended periods of time now needs new, innovative battery technologies that are small, durable against the elements, and are able to store vast amounts of energy.

Read more on Electronics, Software and Communications here.

Oceanaids NERC Capital Programme

To ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global marine science and technology innovation, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has made a £10m investment in the NOC to develop the next generation of Marine Autonomous Systems

 Read more here

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