Submaran – The Wind And Solar Powered Submersible Drone

Submaran S10 Hybrid UUSV


More Than Meets The Eye – Submaran S10 Hybrid UUSV – Image: Ocean Aero

This wind and solar powered unmanned underwater and surface vessel (UUSV) can operate for months at sea and dive to depths of 200 metres.

Developed by San Diego based Ocean Aero, the Submaran S10 is 4.14 metres long, 2.45 metres high with the wingsail up and weighs 127 kilograms.

The dual composite wingsail, which retracts when submerging, enables wind propulsion at speeds of up to 5 knots while on the surface. The wingsail also features a communications antenna, anemometer (for measuring wind speed), LED navigation lights and a 360-degree camera

Solar panels mounted on the deck charge a lithium-ion battery bank for powering payload instruments and a thruster. Ocean Aero states the solar panels provide 300 watts peak/50 watts power. We assume that means 300 watts in an ideal scenario, but 50 watts under standard operating conditions.

Submaran features

Image : Ocean Aero

“The combination of wind and solar power gives the Submaran added maneuverability for extended station keeping and ongoing ocean surveying and observation,” states Ocean Aero.

Sensors that can be incorporated in the Submaran’s 23kg capacity payload area include weather instruments, hydrocarbon detectors, wave and dissolved oxygen sensors. Other equipment can also be integrated, such as acoustic modems and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP).

Submaran’s diving capabilities enable water column analysis, stealth operations and hazardous weather avoidance.

While having military and commercial applications , the Submaran can also play a valuable role in scientific research; helping to better understand the interactions of our oceans in relation to climate change and pollution. It can also be used for marine mammal tracking and fisheries monitoring.

“..protecting and researching our oceans is imperative and becomes more possible and probable with an unmanned, self-propelled vehicle like the Submaran,” says the company.

The Ocean Aero team recently demonstrated control of a Submaran located in San Diego by an operator situated over 15,000 kilometres away in Perth, Australia.

The Submaran was a winner in the Aerospace, Security, & Cyber Technologies Category at CONNECT’s 28th Annual Most Innovative New Product Awards in 2015.

Also in 2015, the company signed a multi-million dollar two-year deal with the U.S Department of Defense to build a prototype Long Range Unmanned Underwater and Surface Vessel, similar to the Submaran model.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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