The Canadian Navy’s Interim Remote Mine-Sweeper DORADO – a purpose built Semi- Submersible Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) built and housed by International Submarine Engineering Ltd. is performing sea trials currently in Belcarra, BC for a new application – a team of researchers from Dalhousie University are bringing environmental / water quality monitoring capability to the AUV. A comprehensive suite of measurements housed on the AUV will allow scientists to remotely survey near- surface/sea-surface conditions.

Canadian Navy’s DORADO Semi-Submersible ready to deploy from ISE’s MV Researcher, Belcarra, BC. Photo courtesy: MEOPAR

Funded by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network, Principal investigators, Dr. Douglas Wallace and Dr. Mae Seto saw the opportunity to employ DORADO as a way to rapidly survey large areas of the surface ocean. Chris L’Esperance, a PhD student at Dalhousie University’s Department of Oceanography, supported by a team from the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology Laboratory, is leading the design, integration and testing of the system. On loan from Defence Research Development Canada (Dorado’s Owner/Operator), L’Esperance and ISE’s Operations Team are in Belcarra until June 17th.

Established in 2012 through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network is strengthening resilience and opportunity in Canada’s marine environment by funding interdisciplinary academic research, developing highly qualified personnel with expertise in marine risk and response, and by connecting academic research and technology to national and international partners in government, industry, and the public sector.

MEOPAR funds interdisciplinary research, trains students and researchers, mobilizes new knowledge and tools, and facilitates partnerships between the academic, government, industry, NGO and other sectors to reduce Canada’s vulnerability to marine hazards and emergencies.

ISE was formed in 1974 to design and build underwater vehicles. Based just outside Vancouver, Canada, ISE has delivered 240 vehicles and over 400 robotic manipulators to more than 20 countries around the world.

The ISE family of vehicles includes AUVs, ROVs, submersibles, semi-submersibles, and active towfish. ISE also has extensive robotics capability, having built subsea manipulator systems and land based robotic systems. These systems have been deployed in various applications ranging from remote intervention in hazardous environments, automated refueling and robotic manipulator training systems for space.

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