Integration and Operation of DriX-12 Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

TitleIntegration and Operation of DriX-12 Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
Publication TypeConference Abstract
AuthorsSchmidt, V, Downs, R, Levano, M
Conference NameUS Hydroraphic Conference
Conference LocationBiloxi, MS
Conference DatesMarch 13-16

In the summer of 2023, through funding provided by NOAA’s Uncrewed Systems (UxS) Operations Center within the Office of Marine Operations, NOAA acquired a DriX uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) (Exail Inc.). The project is a collaborative effort by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and NOAA Fisheries to operationalize the use of uncrewed systems to improve the efficiency of acoustic surveys from NOAA's ships. Sea Acceptance Testing of the vehicle was performed in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM) in August 2022. Initial deployment and training of personnel aboard the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson occurred in early September. Afterward, two weeks of production survey operations were performed with DriX-12 as part-and-parcel of the ship’s routine operations. Lessons learned during initial sea acceptance, shipboard integration, personnel training and staffing, and deployment and recovery will be discussed. An evaluation of survey operations in conjunction with the ship and DriX-12 data will also be provided.