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About Saildrone

A saildrone is an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) that combines wind-powered propulsion technology and solar-powered meteorological and oceanographic sensors to perform autonomous long-range data collection missions in the harshest ocean environments.

Saildrone USVs travel at an average speed of two to three knots and can reach top speeds above eight knots (nine miles per hour). Sailing 100 kilometers per day on average, these USVs can reach most ocean locations within 30 days from the closest shore and cover large survey areas.

The Saildrone sensor payload consists of science-grade instruments, integrated in close partnership with NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.

The sensor package measures key atmospheric and oceanographic environmental variables in real time including solar irradiance, long wave radiation, atmospheric pressure, air temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction, ocean skin temperature, bulk water temperature, chlorophyll and colored dissolved organic matter, atmospheric and seawater partial pressure of CO2, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and acidity levels.

The USVs have also been equipped with acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP), scientific echo-sounders for biomass assessment and bathymetry surveys, and passive acoustic recorders for marine mammal studies. The sensor package is connected to onboard computers that transmit the data via satellite communications to our shore-based data centers.

Saildrone adopts a service model approach to the design and implementation of missions and the delivery of datasets to customers.


Saildrone G5 STANDARD measurement suite (PDF)


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