Visiting Lake Michigan or Lake Huron soon? Don’t miss the sailing drones!

The scientists at the US Geological Survey are launching two uncrewed surface vehicles, Saildrones, to conduct a fishery study at Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Beginning their mission today, these ocean drones will gather fish distribution and density data around the clock for the next 45 days.

The study commences at Lake Michigan today, with the drones sailing north into Lake Huron through September. The 23-foot autonomous vehicles are powered by wind and solar energy and carry no people. The drones are unmistakable with their 15-foot-tall bright neon-orange wing sail and weighted keel.

Saildrones: Listening for trouble?

Saildrone Explorers bear a payload of science sensors and navigational and communications equipment on their hulls. For the Great Lakes fishery study, the technology at play would be that of “sound” or acoustics. And that’s because marine biologists need to understand the effects that the engine noise of a large vessel could have on…