Poole and David Maclean - Autonaut launch and recovery
TECHNOLOGY NEWS 14 JUNE 2016 - AUTONAUT 5m COMPLETES PERFORMANCE TRIALS
The brand new AutoNaut 5m vessel has undergone testing in QinetiQ’s Ocean Basin at the Haslar Marine Technology Park. The new design was put through its paces in a range of wave conditions to evaluate the performance of the
patented AutoNaut Wave Foil Technology at the 5m size.
AutoNaut’s wave foil system passively harvests the energy from the pitch and roll of waves at sea, providing elegant, silent propulsion with zero emissions. Using the waves in this way ensures that power generated by solar panels or
fuel cells is available for sensor payloads and AutoNaut’s custom
autopilot system, designed by H-Scientific Ltd.
The trial was organized by QinetiQ’s Maritime Autonomy Centre (QMAC), headed up by campaign lead, Bill Biggs who said, “We were really excited to be putting the new 5m through its paces and helping MOST (AV) to more fully characterize the performance of their technology. We are looking forward to supporting the Plymouth trials, and to working with MOST (AV) and other members of the maritime autonomy community at the Unmanned Warrior demonstrations in
Scotland this October.”
- Using only energy from nature, the largest of the AutoNaut family is able to
collect and transmit ocean data reliably, where speed is not as important as
solid performance. QinetiQ's giant water
basin is an ideal venue for such evaluations.
Dan Alldis, MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Design Manager said, “This is not the first time we have had an AutoNaut in the wave tank, as we completed a significant testing round with our original prototype 3m vessels. This round of testing allowed us to validate our speed and motion scaling calculations from previous testing, and provided us with a chance to test new wave foil configurations.”
Alldis continued, “We tested in wave heights up to 0.6m and saw speeds upwards of 3.5 knots which is extremely encouraging. We aim to collect further performance data in ‘real’ waves off
Plymouth this summer as we go into the second phase of our surveillance capability trials.”
The trials used the Qualysis Motion Capture System to collect high resolution speed and 6-axis motion data, which provided a comprehensive data set to feed into the ongoing AutoNaut R&D program.
“This was a great opportunity to test a full size AutoNaut in controlled conditions, providing an extremely valuable dataset assisting with our ongoing 5m vessel development,” Alldis said. “Initial analysis of the results is encouraging and align with our calculations, and we look forward to proving our findings in an oceanic environment later this month.”
FIRST MISSION 4 NOV 2014
AutoNaut USV has arrived back in the Isles of Scilly after a 13 day autonomous mission in which she weathered a 70 mph
Atlantic storm while gathering scientific data.
“This was a major test for AutoNaut” said Director David Maclean of MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Ltd which produces the AutoNaut.
“To have delivered on time, on budget and to a very tight schedule; and for our unmanned surface vessel (USV) to have gone straight out into the Atlantic and followed her programme through a gale and a storm is a really solid achievement.”
“We are delighted to have proved the robustness and reliability of the AutoNaut in these storm conditions in conjunction with the
National Oceanography Centre (NOC) MASSMO project which involved seven other autonomous vessels gathering scientific data.”
Wave propulsion means AutoNaut can provide very long endurance. She is designed for autonomous data gathering using a wide range of off-the-shelf sensors for science, the military, and offshore gas & oil and renewables industries.
On this voyage AutoNaut ‘Gordon’, built for the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), was towing a 25m hydrophone array at a depth of 4m, as well as carrying an AirMar weather station, a pyronometer to measure sunlight, two cameras for seabird and marine litter survey work, and a WetLabs Triplet Puck measuring chlorophyll and other aspects of sea water quality.
Russell Wynn, Senior Scientist at NOC said: “We are delighted that the AutoNaut has successfully completed its first major offshore mission, and that the scientific sensors including the towed array have been safely recovered. It is encouraging to see that the novel camera system has already captured high-quality images of seabirds in the offshore environment, and we are excited about analysing the data in the coming weeks.”
This 13 day voyage was also a first ocean test for the NarcineArray manufactured by J+S Ltd of Barnstaple and Aberdeen. The 25m array is designed to listen for cetaceans as well as ships, and scientists involved in NOC’s MASSMO deployment also hope to get useful data as the array crossed tidal mixing fronts off the Isles of Scilly.
Alex Key, Business Development Manager for J+S Ltd said: “The deployment of a NarcineArray™ with the AutoNaut is a major achievement for both the towing vessel and the array. It clearly illustrates that miniaturising the technology to suit this new evolving market, and enabling collection of data not previously available through traditional methods is the way forward in our ability to measure and monitor the ocean. The collaboration of the AutoNaut and NarcineArray has allowed this to happen. It is also positive proof that the miniaturised NarcineArray is 100% ruggedized, able to withstand rough and challenging ocean going conditions. We look forward to our continued collaboration with MOST (AV) on this and other ground breaking scientific projects.”
NarcineArray is a product family of small diameter passive acoustic line arrays suitable for static or towed applications that can be configured to specific customer requirements. J+S have made use of their knowledge and experience of larger diameter arrays to develop this highly adaptable product that is uniquely suitable to today’s underwater environment. When compared with a conventional towed array, NarcineArray provides a significant reduction in power consumption, diameter (down to 16mm), weight and drag. This means that the array can be deployed and recovered far more easily, often without any specialist handling equipment. Because of the reduced weight, drag and power consumption NarcineArray can also be deployed from a much greater range of vessels, from conventional surface vessels to
Unmanned Surface Vessels
(USVs) and Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUVs).
Mike Poole Director of MOST (AV) added:
“the combination of NarcineArray and AutoNaut has great potential. This trial has proven conclusively that the 3.5m AutoNaut has the wave-power to manage this amount of drag in rough ocean conditions and to remain completely controllable by the pilots ashore guiding her via Iridium satellite communication. We look forward to working with J+S to develop the concept to meet customer requirements.”
AutoNaut also harvests solar energy at sea to power her state of the art electronics, and carries a methanol fuel cell for additional power when required.
The new unmanned surface vessel (USV) uses 'motion-from-the-ocean' to propel herself, silently, with zero emissions. “AutoNaut is revolutionary,” said Mike Poole, “because it is the first commercial use of this particular
wave propulsion technology which can be scaled from a 1 metre hull to a ship. Such zero emission power, using the energy of the waves to propel a vessel, has great future potential for the marine world.”
David Maclean said, “We raised much interest in AutoNaut as we developed the concept through prototypes and testing, and launched at Oceanology International in London last March. This new production boat’s first real ocean test is a great demonstration of the solid engineering reliability we and the market demand. We are hugely proud of what our small team has achieved. Now that AutoNaut is storm-proven we are keen to explore the many uses already identified across a growing global market for the autonomous data gathering made possible by AutoNaut’s unique capabilities.”
NOC’s MASSMO project involved the mass deployment from the Scillies of five unmanned surface vessels and three underwater ‘gliders’. Equipped with a range of different sensors this NOC fleet focused its attention on tidal mixing fronts off the Scillies and half way out to the continental shelf break. These fronts where waters mix are areas rich in plankton, which attract fish and birds.
In a second phase of the MASSMO project in early November, AutoNaut ‘Gordon’ will be deployed off Plymouth to monitor tagged fish. This phase of the research project is being run from the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth and will last a week. A small hydrophone will be towed to listen for signals from the fish tags, as a first stage in a 10 year project to study fish behaviour in the area
the revolutionary wave propelled vessel for ocean research, was launched at Oceanology International in
London in March 2014. Built by MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Ltd for very long endurance autonomous data gathering the 3.5 metre AutoNaut also harvests solar energy at sea to power her state of the art electronics.
The new unmanned surface vessel (USV) uses motion from the ocean
to propel herself, silently, with stability and zero emissions.
Fresh back from sea trials with AutoNaut in Scotland founder Directors David Maclean and Mike Poole are on hand at Oi 2014, stand D445, to explain her potential and answer questions as visitors get their first chance to see the unique vessel.
is this company's brand name for its unmanned vessels. It all started in 2012
when David Maclean of MOST Ltd, and Michael Poole of Eco-nomic Ltd came together to develop and market the
AutoNaut wave propulsion system as an autonomous vessel designed for scientific ocean research, commercial data gathering, and defence applications.
MOST (AV) Ltd.
began trading on 1st January 2013 with the grant of a worldwide exclusive licence
from Eco-nomic Ltd (who hold a patent
for the system) and the
grant of £400k from the National Oceanography Centre for Phase 2 of their call
to develop a ‘Long Endurance Marine Unmanned Surface Vehicle’ (LEMUSV).
mission has since been to become the global leader in autonomous wave propelled vessels.
They wanted to build a reputation for robust engineering and electronics, and dedication to
customers. MOST (AV) aim to stay at the forefront of this technology through long term commitment to R&D.
company says that their disruptive technology coincides with an increasing world market for autonomous capability. In particular a market for low cost (relative to manned ships), zero emission, unmanned surface vessels
(USVs), that are able to stay at sea for months and perhaps years, with the
potential to cover vast ocean areas - for data gathering missions, etc.
Autonaut is too small to carry ROVs or other arrays, or
weapons, but that could
be rectified in the future if as must be the case the technology is at least
scaleable to the extent of wave maximums. They intend building the company for the long-term and seek investors
who like their concept.
As well as seeking
major investors, MOST AV Ltd has taken substantial early investments from ‘friends and family’
to enable the company to accelerate its commercial potential.
The range of Autonaut products at this time is from 1m to 5m length vessels.
There are military and other specialist options and a choice of ‘business model’ customer
options. These include outright purchase with or without payloads, through serviced operation of customer owned platforms, to
MOST carrying out data gathering on behalf of customers, using their Autonauts.
For some reason the name reminds us of Jules Verne's 20,000
Leagues Under The Sea.
MACLEAN - EXECUTIVE CEng FIMarEST MRINA Commodore, Royal Navy (retired 2003)
15 years+ in MoD procurement roles including as T23 Frigate Warship Project Manager (1997-1999) and LPD(R) IPTL (2000-2003). He joined BMT Defence Services Ltd in 2004, setting up BMT Defence Services (Australia) Pty in Melbourne in 2005 and becoming Defence Director for the holding company, BMT Group Ltd, in 2006.
In 2008 he co-founded MOST Ltd with James Fanshawe, to undertake technology development and consultancy in fuel efficient ship operations.
With considerable experience in project management, technology development, executive roles and company start-ups, he is a founding executive director of MOST (AV) Ltd, a new micro
POOLE - EXECUTIVE
Mike developed the original ideas for the AutoNaut over a number of years
(see full story) and design iterations. He has a wealth of practical marine operations experience including 10 years as a professional sailboat skipper with the French shipping company OSCOSA and a DoT Yachtmaster Ocean qualification.
He was a founder/director/chairman of a number of environmental companies and SW region sustainability initiatives including working with the NHS on resource efficiency.
Mike holds the patent covering the Background IP on the AutoNaut technology through his private company Eco-nomic Ltd and is a founding executive director of MOST (AV) Ltd.
FANSHAWE CBE - CHAIRMAN (RN Retired)
James is active in a number of roles within the UK maritime industry after a career in the
Royal Navy during which he held five commands.
He was on the Board of Shoreham Port Authority for 6 years and is currently on the Board of several other companies. He is the President of the UK Anchorites and a Freeman of the City of
In 2008 he co-founded MOST Ltd, with David Maclean, and he is leading the MOST (AV) work on the safety of
navigation of unmanned surface vessels. He Chairs and is a founding director of MOST (AV) Ltd.
MARK SCIBOR-RYLSKI PhD
Mark is an experienced technology/innovation manager with industrial, financial, and engineering
skills. He acts as a mentor to environmental businesses in the South West on behalf of the Gatsby Trust. Mark has made many investments, raised funding, acted as a turnaround manager, sold and floated companies, and set up commercial partnerships for them.
He is a director of a number of UK companies. Mark graduated from Imperial College and City
University. He is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Physicist and a founding director of MOST (AV) Ltd.
is an associate and Board Advisor to MOST (AV) Ltd. Through Autonomous Analytics Gwyn became a non-executive director of MOST (AV) Ltd in September 2013. He recently retired as Head of Marine Autonomous and
Robotic Systems within the National Marine Facilities Division of the
National Oceanography Centre, and
as Professor in the School of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton.
He was head of the Ocean Engineering Division from 1993 to March 2003. His knowledge of autonomous vessels, ocean science and fluid systems is permeating all that MOST (AV) undertakes.
AutoNaut has a scalable wave propulsion technology - this is beyond doubt
where foils have been used on fishing vessels such as the Norwegian:
and the Russian trawler: Nikolaev. A larger boat could
have more speed, except that the WAFT project found that 3 knots was about the
gain for wave-foil assisted propulsion. We don't have more details unfortunately
- and the two projects share a common bond. That is not to say that the MOST system
cannot provide MORE.
AutoNaut’s new operating potential
includes new ways to deploy a
range of sensors. The list will grow but indicatively sensors currently being deployed and discussed with customers are:
MAST – AirMar weather station. Campbell Scientific insolation sensor.
HULL – Teledyne Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, Wetlabs Triplet Puck, RBR Concerto CDT, a range of multi-beam echo sounders and
sonars for pipeline survey,
mine detection and other purposes, cytobot and ocean acidification
sensors, thermistor and acoustic arrays.
applications under test are towing (performed well) and the incorporation of a
Internal layout of the 3.5m Autonaut
LOA, X 0.43m beam
– 3 knots
minimal visual and radar signature
person portable / Air freight compatible
pre-set missions; update via remote control using web interface.
Chart based graphic user interface (GUI). Waypoint navigation
to remote GUI, with SMS and email alerts for alarms/warnings.
Programmable exclusion zones
navigation including station keeping & grid transects. Autonomous
collision avoidance with AIS
from slipway or boat gantry/crane; sail away under local/manual
control. Recovery from slipway or alongside by gantry.
radius in sea state 1 (current < 1.0 knot)
wave powered (pitch and roll). Aux propulsion (~1kt) for flat calm
watt methanol fuel cell, 20 litres fuel (22kWh of power)
@ 50% duty cycle for 90 days. Peak power 200W for 2 hours
global sat comm; UHF; local/manual XBEE PRO 913MHz
60kg / 100 litres (double if fuel cell not required)
and distributed: through hull, mast up to 2m, towed array
receiver, water temp sensor, AirMar 150WX weather station
all-round white LEDs. Iridium GPS tracker
and temp sensors
separate batteries. Intelligent charge controller to isolate
danger to marine life. Zero emission vessel. All leading
edges angled aft to minimise possibility of entanglement; draft 0.3m.
MOST (Autonomous Vessels)
Unit A5, The Boatyard
Chichester Marina, Chichester
West Sussex, PO20 7EJ
+44 (0) 1243 511 421
+44 (0) 1822 840 612
Guardian (1897). A boat with fins. Volume XVIII, Issue 4281, 30 August
N. and Lien, J. (1990). Energy Absorption from Ocean Waves: In Proc. R. Soc.
Lond, vol.B 240, pp. 591–605.
O. (2008). Japan sailor takes on pacific in wave-powered boat. Reuters,
March 17, 2008. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
J. A. (1966). Flexible fin propulsion for vessels GB Patent 1176559. Sept. 7, 1966. Patented Jan. 7,
J. A. (1967). Water-borne propulsion system flexible fin members US Patent 3,453,981.
Apr. 24, 1967 Jul 8 1969
Systems Technology November 2014 Autonaut USV successfully completes first
Technology News autonaut
International Exhibitors Stand D455 Autonaut
Burnett, R. F. (1979). Wave energy for propelling craft - nothing new. The Naval Architect. Nov. 1979, p. 239.
Dybdahl, K. (1988). Foilpropellen kan revolusjonere skipsfarten. Teknisk
Ukeblad/ Teknikk, no. 39, October 1988, pp. 10-11.
Anon.(1983). Wave power for ship propulsion. The Motor Ship, 64(757):67–69.
Berg, A. (1985). Trials with passive foil propulsion on M/S Kystfangst. Project no. 672.138. Technical report, Fiskeriteknologisk
Forskningsinstitutt, Fartøyseksjon, Marinteknisk senter, Håkon Håkonsensgt. 34, 7000,
VOYAGER - Two hefty PV panels are low in the water so will get a dousing routinely, but should stay
clean enough for the crossing. This has not been a problem for the Autonaut.
The concept is similar to the SeaCharger
below and the Scout seen on this page, but that the Scout attempted to set the Atlantic
unmanned record in 2013, whereas the Solar Voyager made her attempt in 2016.
- Being recovered by a passing ship at sea, this boat is very similar in concept to the
Solar Voyager above but attempted to travel across the Pacific to set a record for
unmanned endurance boats in 2017. The SeaCharger
made it from California to Hawaii, but came a cropper near to New Zealand.
Valliant attempts all and there is always room for one more....