The L3Harris C-Worker 5 ASV at sea

The L3Harris C-Worker 5 ASV at sea.
Credit: L3Harris

The University of Southern Mississippi has been awarded a 3-year grant to develop cost-efficient technology that will gather water-quality data throughout the water column using autonomous surface vehicles and deploy them in real-time. Monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone is primarily done by research vessels annually, so this project enables increased water quality monitoring of the hypoxic zone at a lower cost. The project will operationally demonstrate water quality profiling capability for USM by using L3Harris’ C-Worker 5 ASVs. These profiles will measure stratified waters in depths from 5 m to over 50 m and near bottom observations. It will also test the real-time transmission of hypoxia monitoring data to support the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone surveys and modeling. Data will be made free and publicly available through operational data centers. When transitioned to operations, facilitated by the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System, this will assist NOAA’s annual requirement to map the mid-summer hypoxic zone and thereby generate the metric used by the Hypoxia Task Force to assess progress toward the size of the mid-summer hypoxic zone. Year 1: $376,304 Year 2: $393,501 Year 3: $391,212 Total Award: $1,161,017 Partners: University of Southern Mississippi; L3Harris; Integral Consulting Inc.; GCOOS; NOAA; EPA Gulf of Mexico Program; EPA Office of Research and Development; Texas A&M University