VNR: saildrones to navigate Hawaiʻi waters for critical UH research

Three Saildrone Explorers, uncrewed surface vehicles used to measure ocean data, embarked on a six-month journey around Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi to evaluate ocean health across the state. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL), and the Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES), are working with Saildrone Inc. to pilot this effort. 

The 23-foot ocean drones will send back critical data and images in real-time to scientists in Hawaiʻi and Washington State so they can assess how climate change and ocean acidification are impacting our coastal waters.

The saildrones left from Pacific Shipyards International in Honolulu Harbor on Oʻahu in March and the official mission started on April 1.

Each saildrone will collect critical ocean chemistry observations around Hawaiʻi to better assess the state’s vulnerability to ocean chemistry changes. This effort is a part of the $50 million gift from Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg to the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology in 2022 to improve Hawaiʻi’s ocean health.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 2 April 2023. Press release.

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