Abstract

Mesobot, an autonomous underwater vehicle, addresses specific unmet needs for observing and sampling a variety of phenomena in the ocean’s midwaters. The midwater hosts a vast biomass, has a role in regulating climate, and may soon be exploited commercially, yet our scientific understanding of it is incomplete. Mesobot has the ability to survey and track slow-moving animals and to correlate the animals’ movements with critical environmental measurements. Mesobot will complement existing oceanographic assets such as towed, remotely operated, and autonomous vehicles; shipboard acoustic sensors; and net tows. Its potential to perform behavioral studies unobtrusively over long periods with substantial autonomy provides a capability that is not presently available to midwater researchers. The 250-kilogram marine robot can be teleoperated through a lightweight fiber optic tether and can also operate untethered with full…

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