Australian Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Facility (AUV)
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle facility provides precisely navigated time series measurements of benthic imagery using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) at selected locations on Australia’s continental shelf. While very large-scale surface processes can be addressed adequately by remote sensing and ship-borne systems, characterisation of many marine processes requires the ability to sense at high resolutions in close proximity to the seafloor. The ability to conduct geo-referenced, high resolution, repeatable surveys of marine habitats – particularly those beyond diver depths – represents one of the key benefits of AUVs. The facility incorporates a suite of observing programs that capitalise on the unique capabilities of AUVs and provides a critical observational link between oceanographic and benthic processes. To support a more complete understanding of natural, climate change, and human-induced variability in shelf environments, the facility generates physical and biological observations of benthic variables that cannot be cost-effectively obtained by other means.