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February 13, 2024

HydroSurv Funded to Commercialize Robotic Seagrass Solution

Image courtesy HydroSurv

Image courtesy HydroSurv

HydroSurv, a provider of electric and hybrid uncrewed surface vessels (USVs),  secured Innovate UK funding to commercialize an end-to-end seagrass monitoring solution with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The project aims to provide a rapidly scalable, low-impact and comprehensive answer to the numerous challenges of monitoring seagrass meadows by combining HydroSurv USV platforms with an automated data processing toolchain. The robotic solution will be demonstrated over spring and summer 2024 at three designated worksites on the south west coast of England, conducting baseline and seasonal re-survey work and ultimately delivering some 40 days of on-water testing and data, showing seasonal variation over the project’s 9-month duration.
Dubbed SONARS (Seagrass Observation using Novel Acoustic Remote Sensing), the project will see HydroSurv work with Coastal Marine Applied Research (CMAR) from the University of Plymouth, the Ocean Conservation Trust, Falmouth Harbour and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The technology package has already significantly advanced seagrass mapping capabilities. HydroSurv started to develop the non-invasive solution, with Innovate UK support, in early 2022 in collaboration with the University of Plymouth and Valeport. This previous work focused on refining acoustic ground discrimination techniques from the robotic vessel platforms and was successfully demonstrated in live trials over the past two years. The partners envisage that this next stage of technology development will propel the concept towards scale deployment and commercial viability.

HydroSurv's cloud-based data hosting and visualisation application, EasySurv, facilitates real-time decision making without the need for specialist GIS packages or interrogation skills. EasySurv hosts content-managed data deliverables, processed using machine learning algorithms, alongside the raw data collected from the company’s USVs.

The February 2024 edition of Marine Technology Reporter is focused on Oceanographic topics and technologies.
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