Marine pollution is a global environmental problem with significant detrimental environmental and socio-economic repercussions. Oil spills are one type of pollution; other types include chemical run-off and garbage in the water. Climate change and severe ecological damage are two of the consequences of pollution. Increased dangers, the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, the MV Wakashio in Mauritius, and spills off Newfoundland in 2018 and 2019 have expanded the gap between the probable requirement for oil spill countermeasures and present response capabilities. Understanding the dynamics of subsurface plumes requires information on oil and other pollutants in the water column, which allows for prompt and efficient mitigation.
The aim of this work is to develop underwater vehicle capability for the assessment of marine pollution, by creating an AUV that automatically alters its mission course in real-time depending on the properties of the plumes observed by onboard sensors using adaptive sampling. As a result, the AUV route is focused on regions of interest and information-rich locations determined by the sensors, optimizing the AUV response. Additionally, long-range AUV capabilities will be investigated in collaboration with Canadian AUV manufacturers in order to conduct significant high-endurance maritime pollution monitoring jobs with the goal of putting in place surveillance and warnings that lead to mitigation actions.
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