Sentry Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is a part of the National Deep Submergence Facility, a national asset for the use of the scientific community at large. AUV Sentry is a fly away system that has a capability to be integrated into a wide variety of ships including UNOLS, private, and foreign vessels and can move rapidly around the world in two 20ft ISO containers by road, sea, or air freight. AUV Sentry spends a lot of time at sea for various scientists. It has the capacity to map bathymetry at less than 1m resolution (see below) as well as water temperature and turbidity.
Sentry Map: Dissected pillow basalt mound- axis of the EPR (mound 1km in diameter) (Photo-Mike Cheadle)
Sentry operations aim to be a mostly turn-key solution providing a vehicle, staffing, planning, and substantial data processing as a part of the facility. Sentry operations are about a 70/30 split of the routine to the innovative. This frequently includes integration of experimental or custom sensors, development of new survey patterns, adaptive survey techniques, joint operations with other vehicles, etc. The team carries out some development, customization, or integration for nearly every cruise, larger changes or additions may require more planning and either a separate proposal or a community consensus of the need for the capability. Many of the team have robotics research careers in addition to our role with the facility operations.
Sentry on deck in Durban