The University of Plymouth has been working with a Devon-based company, Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd, to test and optimise the capability of the company’s latest sensor being used within the marine autonomy market. It will be going into service aboard the world’s first uncrewed Atlantic crossing by a scientific vessel, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS).
Silicon Sensing Systems design and manufacture leading Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) based inertial sensors for a range of hi-technology markets and have long history of applying these technologies to meet the needs of fast-growing offshore industries. MEMS inertial sensors make up the component elements of systems required for precise motion and position monitoring and control on ships, submersibles and other marine craft.
MAS is a grassroots initiative led by marine research non-profit ProMare with support from IBM and a global consortium of partners, including MSubs, Silicon Sensing Systems and the University here in Plymouth. Working in tandem with oceanographers and other vessels, MAS provides a flexible, cost-effective and safe option for gathering critical data about the ocean.
How did the MBTC support the business?
Aaron Barrett, Technical Specialist (Marine Autonomous Systems) at the University of Plymouth, worked with the technical team at Silicon Sensing Systems to develop a sea trial experimentation using USV CETUS, a state of the art C-Worker 4 uncrewed surface vessel made by L3 Harris and owned by the University of Plymouth. This platform is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the University’s participation in the Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) project.
The free use of USV CETUS includes access to Smart Sound Plymouth via the University’s fleet of research vessels and commercial workboats, with the University’s experienced skippers and technical experts on hand to support complex marine technology trials at sea.
First, Aaron integrated the company’s MEMS inertial measurement unit sensor into USV CETUS, including data connection and logging systems. He then worked with Harbour Master authorities, skippers and technical support staff to plan, permit and deliver a sea trial campaign to operate CETUS in varying sea states within and outside Plymouth Sound’s Breakwater in conjunction with the university Research Vessel Falcon Spirit as the mothership.