Mark Patterson advances undersea monitoring

Mark Patterson, Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Understanding, predicting, and ultimately mitigating the impact of climate change on our urban coastlines requires close, continuous monitoring of earth’s oceans, as well as its atmosphere.

But manned diving expeditions are expensive and limited in the amount of ocean area they can cover. To overcome those constraints, Patterson has developed a line of autonomous, underwater robots known as Fetches.

Equipped with GPS, cameras, and various types of sensors, Fetch bots can collect vast amounts of data over time about water movement and the ocean floor, marine life populations, the condition of coral reefs, and oxygen levels.

“The robot is thinking for itself, executing its mission, dealing with unforeseen circumstances, trying to preserve itself, and reacting to things it sees in the coastal zone,” says Patterson.

By deploying a small army of Fetch bots, scientists gain a more accurate picture of how and where the ocean is changing, and the impact of oceanic change on our climate and coastlines.

Source: Making Tomorrow Happen

Related Faculty: Mark Patterson

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering