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Welcome to MARS

The National Oceanography Centre's - Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems program.

What is this site?

This site provides a view of current and past deployments of AUVs and research ships operated by NOC. The map shows the latest position from each deployment (where it is now or where it was recovered for past deployments) as well as a track showing the full journey. Different vehicle types update their positions at different intervals depending on where they are and the available communication channels. For contextual information about the vehicles, projects and campaigns follow the links below to the main NOC website.

What is an AUV?

AUV stands for Autonomous Underwater Vehicle meaning that they are unmanned vehicles which, once tasked with a mission, execute that mission largely without human interaction.

They carry different sensors depending on the science being conducted and there a different types of AUV which have very different characteristics and operating constraints.

Broadly these are high powered, low endurance vehicles which operate for up to a few days and low powered, high endurance vehicles that can operate for several months at a time. Some have thrusters or propellors. Others glide using fixed wings and buoyancy control devices to control their depth and direction.

What is MARS?

The Marine Autonomous Robotic Systems team are responsible for designing, building, operating and servicing a number of autonomous underwater vehicles which form part of the NMEP (see below).

The MARS team includes mechanical engineers, designing and building AUVs, electrical engineers building the AUV internal systems, software developers writing both the onboard software and control systems and operations teams who carry out the deployments.

What is the NMEP?

The National Marine Equipment Pool is a range of scientific equipment operated by the National Oceanography Centre and available for use by research scientists across the world. It includes around 40 autonomous underwater vehicles. Some of these are commercial platforms and others are designed and built in-house by the MARS team.

What is the NMF?

NOC's National Marine Facilities group operates both the research ships and the NMEP, and include MARS. Our colleagues in the NOC's Digital Ocean group operate British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) which collates and disseminates scientific data collected by NOC projects.

You can find out more about some of the projects we work on at NOC projects.