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Autonomous Tow Vessels for Offshore Macroalgae Farming

P.F.J. Lermusiaux,
P.J. Haley, Jr., C. Mirabito,
M. Doshi, M. Bhabra,
Z. Duguid

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for Ocean Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Cambridge, Massachusetts

C.A. Goudey,
D. Manganelli,
H. Goudey
C.A. Goudey and Associates
Project Summary
Ongoing MIT-MSEAS Research
Additional Links
Background Information


This research is sponsored by ARPA-E for C.A. Goudey and Associates.

Project Summary

The matter of ocean forecasting and route planning is an important aspect of maximizing the value of the Autonomous Tow Vessels for Offshore Macroalgae Farming developed C.A. Goudey & Associates. For this challenging project, we apply and further develop our experience with the optimization of vehicle trajectories in dynamic flow fields and in forecasting such flows and optimal trajectories. Our MSEAS group research has an emphasis on the following support: (1) Examine the importance of route optimization in Drone Tug applications in local tidal and coastal flows based on speed and maneuvering abilities; (2) Consultations on Drone Tug evaluation and applications with a focus on operations in the vicinity of Woods Hole and Nantucket Sound; (3) Support of Drone Tug demonstrations at Nantucket Sound kelp farm.

Background information is available below.

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Ongoing MIT-MSEAS Research

Specific Objectives:

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Additional Macroalgae Links

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Background Information

In order to advance the present seaweed-farming sector from the low-tech, labor-intensive methods used today to a vital, technology-driven sector, the automation of labor-intensive tasks is essential. The utilization of unmanned vessels — ocean-going drones — can provide high towing efficiency, low cost, and being unmanned they enable the movement of large, high-drag objects at low speeds. Indeed, low-cost, turnkey, easy-to-operate autonomous tractors can pull offshore seaweed farms into a profitable future. The Drone Tug represents the purpose-designed solution to a wide range of offshore farming tasks. Its unique features, well beyond being unmanned, make it an enabling technology for the expansion of a profitable offshore seaweed-farming sector. As a component to offshore seaweed farming, the Drone Tug becomes the offshore farm tractor needed for sector growth and expansion.

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