Permanent Ocean Presence With Autonomous Sailing Robots Wind-Propelled Vessels Foster Long Missions With Precise Maneuvering

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José Carlos Alves
Nuno Cruz
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The demand for accurate ocean sampling is continuously growing to provide a better understanding of the complex sea environment. Current economic and social activity is strongly dictated by knowledge built on data collected from thousands of sensors around the world, ranging from space-borne remote sensors to underwater devices transported by profilers. Autonomous sailboats have great potential to gather long-term data to understand multiple aspects of the ocean environment. In terms of oceanography, they can be used to study many processes occurring at the surface, like the energy exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere and how it affects the climate. They can also be a valuable tool to understand the dynamics of episodic events that evolve on a timescale of weeks or months, like harmful algae blooms or the evolution of pollution plumes. Even though these incidents can already be tracked by satellite, the ability to capture in-situ data for the full cycle can provide valuable data about the phenomena.