First autonomous circumnavigation of Antarctica
Published on August 5th, 2019
A 23-foot long, wind-powered unmanned surface vehicle called a saildrone has become the first unmanned system to circumnavigate Antarctica. The 196-day mission was launched from Southport in Bluff, New Zealand, on January 19, 2019, returning to the same port on August 3 after sailing over 13,670 miles around Antarctica.
Saildrone was equipped with a suite of climate-grade sensors and collected data in previously unchartered waters, enabling new key insights into ocean and climate processes. During the mission, the vehicle survived freezing temperatures, 50-foot waves, 70 knot winds, and collisions with giant icebergs. Full report.