A lightweight system was introduced by Charles River Analytics, with funding support from the U.S. Navy, to allow kayaks to autonomously collect parameter data in coastal environments.
The company said Tuesday its Modular Oceanographic Autonomous Navigating Assessor, developed under a $500,000 Navy contract, works to measure bathymetry, water column constituents, benthic properties, hyperspectral radiometry and other parameters of coastal environments.
The effort aims to simplify a process that currently requires operators to manually measure the said parameters via a customized kayak.
MOANA’s environmental sensors supporting power/onboard communications module are inside an ama hull. Meanwhile, the platform’s outrigger provides an electromechanical interface that allows for integration with any kayak. The outrigger also delivers autonomous navigation and kayak-to-shore communications.
Operators can carry MOANA in portable shipping cases to coastal environments, and may set the platform up on common, rentable kayaks.
“We can imagine future implementations of MOANA to collect environmental data for climate change studies, enable ocean mapping or provide disaster relief services,” said Jeffery Prisco, director of hardware engineering at Charles River Analytics and principal investigator of the MOANA effort.
MOANA builds on a concept originally made by Steven Ackleson, an oceanographer at the Naval Research Laboratory.