The Portable Catamaran Drone (PCD) – a novel type of Uncrewed Surface Vehicle (USV) – creates a new paradigm of surface water particle sampling. The PCD autonomously samples a user-defined area.
Traditionally, surface water particles are collected using a “manta-net”. The device is fixed to a boat using a wire cable and trawled slowly (max 3 kn) for 10-30 minutes. Today’s method is limited to boat availability and limits its use for other purposes. Getting samples is not scalable – more samples require more boat time. Moreover, the boat hull disturbs the surface water layer, which may affect the sample quality.
Equipped with electric-propulsion and autopilot the PCD does not require boat support or constant supervision by researchers. During research on the open sea, researchers can deploy multiple PCDs to simultaneously survey a larger area and use valuable boat-time for other activities. They can even operate the PCD directly from shore, which allows sampling areas where boat use is not possible, e.g. small lakes. Finally, yet importantly, samples collected by the PCD are not affected by the boat hull or propeller, avoiding surface layer distortion.
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