Saildrones set sail


An Australian research group, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will be using three unmanned self-sailing aquatic drones, made by Saildrone of San Francisco (, to explore and study vast expanses of the Southern Ocean ( Two are pictured, being tested, courtesy of CSIRO.

Powered by wind, the Saildrones’ electronics are sun-powered, and they can stay at sea for a year at a time uploading marine, atmospheric, ocean carbon and biomass data the whole time. They have ship avoidance systems so they won’t get nailed by a passing container ship, and can operate either autonomously or be remote-controlled via satellite.

Most importantly, the Saildrones will be “delivering real-time data back to scientists that was previously impossible to collect,” according to CSIRO Research Group Leader, Andreas Marouchos.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or

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