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Persistent Autonomous Mobile Monitoring of Waterborne Biochemical Agents

Project Impacts

The potential military and civil payoff potential of this work is significant, with the ability to launch a surface vessel from shore with one to a few people and have it move autonomously through the water body, collecting samples and reporting back what it measures in the water for months at a time. This addresses one of the Army’s six Modernization Priorities, namely “An Army Network with hardware, software, and infrastructure – sufficiently mobile and expeditionary….” The SeaTrac-based test platform will support autonomous sensor technologies that can inform the Army’s command, control, and intelligence operations. It is a water-borne surface drone that can be used for environmental forensics, as well as persistently surveil for the insertion of potentially lethal chemicals and biological agents in contested environments.

As for the interest or value to the public, the development of the test platform envisioned, and the associated environmental forensics studies will allow municipalities to monitor their water systems more effectively and efficiently. Reservoirs that are used for drinking water can be monitored more holistically and persistently. Toxins and contaminants can be detected more quickly and upstream of the actual municipal intake point.