CMRE and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have begun a collaboration to characterize the maritime domain near the sea surface.
This effort is part of DARPA’s Ocean of Things (OoT) initiative and CMRE’s Environmental Knowledge and Operational Effectiveness (EKOE) programme. The freely drifting autonomous instrument, called drifters, are equipped with a suite of commercially available sensors that collect environmental data such as sea surface temperature and currents, sea state, and atmospheric pressure as well as situational awareness information such as the presence of ships and aircraft.
DARPA's OoT programme aims to enable persistent maritime situational awareness over large areas of the ocean by deploying thousands of low-cost, environmentally friendly and intelligent drifters. CMRE has utilized DARPA drifters amongst other freely drifting instruments in recent activities such as the Mediterranean Rapid Environmental Picture sea trial, held in the south of Sicily. DARPA drifters complement CMRE’s suite of assets to characterize the marine environment and operate as a distributed sensing network, transmitting data via satellite to DARPA and CMRE for storage and real-time analysis. The network of CMRE and DARPA drifting instruments provide oceanographic data at fine space and timescales in support of underwater acoustic research and, hopefully in the future, NATO exercises.