World's biggest autonomous survey vessel begins trials

The world's largest autonomous sailing vessel

is undergoing sea trials in San Francisco

Courtesy: Saildrone

The Saildrone Surveyor will be deployed

to the most remote parts of the world’s oceans

completely unmanned

(SOUNDBITE) (English) RICHARD JENKINS, SAILDRONE CEO SAYING: "Saildrones are unmanned wind-propelled surface vehicles for data collection in the ocean. So we specialize in very long duration, extreme duration missions of 6 to 12 months in the open ocean and we send all our data back via satellite. So you get a picture of, we measure air sea interaction, we measure oceanography, we measure surface variables and that's applicable for science, for weather, for fisheries and importantly for MDA, maritime domain awareness, seeing what's above and below the surface, basically your eyes and eyes in the ocean where there aren't people."

The 72-feet-long vessel is powered by wind and solar energy

and carries sonar equipment capable of seafloor mapping

down to almost 23,000 feet