MANO under maintenance (via UVIC)
In the 1850’s, the latest technology drove Sir John Franklin and his crew to their desolate, frozen death as they hoped to find a new route across the Arctic Ocean. 160 years later, the University of Victoria is using the latest technology to attempt to finish the job Sir Franklin began and perhaps find the wreckage that was left behind.
Professor Colin Bradley from the University of Victoria’s Ocean Technology Lab (OTL) is overseeing the launch and testing of Mano, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that will take on the task of mapping a section of the arctic ocean floor, west of King William island, for five to six weeks. The goal, searching for the two legendary ships, the Terror and the Erebus.
Mano is a modular free-flooded, single propeller AUV that is able to submerge itself to a specified height above the ocean floor, where it can collect sonar images with a resolution of just a few centimeters. The AUV will survey in shifts of 12 hours at the end of which the team can sift through the data collected and recharge the AUV’s onboard batteries. The payload computer is located outside Mano’s onboard computer, which allows for easier update of Mano’s daily missions and software needed to analyze the collected data. Mano also collects sensory information about the Arctic waters like salinity, conductivity, temperature and oxygen. It uses GPS, satellite receivers and advanced guidance and navigation algorithms, developed by the OTL, to maneuver under water safe from arctic volatility. At the end of its shift, it reports back to the OTL station.
If the mission does not succeed in finding the missing vessels, at the very least it will complete navigation charts and provide information for modern maps. Bluefin robotics is responsible for building Mano. UVic is using Mano in the field to assure its functionality before finalizing the pricey purchase. The project is also being funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada. Mano is already navigating the waters of that frozen unknown ocean.