Monitoring the health of our oceans is essential for devising comprehensive action plans to help us better respond to climate challenges.
In a bid to support this effort, California-based company Saildrone has deployed more than 100 AI-equipped drone yachts to cruise around oceans and collect important data. The bright orange coloured, kayak-like saildrones are packed with a number of data sensors, radar systems, and high-resolution cameras to map the ocean bed and keep track of changes affecting our ocean currents, wind speeds, marine life populations and even CO2 emissions - and send all this data back to the Saildrone headquarters via satellite.
Saildrone is one of the world’s biggest deployers of uncrewed vehicles tasked with collecting ocean-related data from both above and below the sea surface, reports designboom. Measuring around 7m (23 ft) in length, their vessels feature a sail with solar panels and an aircraft-like tail, enabling them to only require sunshine and wind to get around.
AI enables the saildrones to navigate on their own and conduct missions anywhere around the world, without needing to refuel or require any human assistance for months on end. On top of that, saildrones are able to withstand harsh environments like the arctic, making them a viable alternative to crewed missions which can be dangerous and are often resource-intensive.