SAN JUAN – The prototype of a new deepsea exploration vehicle designed and developed in the University of Mayaguez’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department labs was successfully tested, its developers said on the weekend.
The tests were carried out this past week during the scientific expedition of the vessel Okeanos Explorer, owned by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in waters just off the Puerto Rican coast.
“Two of these deployments touched the deepest point in the Puerto Rico Trench and Atlantic Ocean, one of the most extreme places on the planet and about which little information is known,” said Wilford Schmidt, a professor of Marine Sciences at the Puerto Rico university and one of those in charge of the project, in a communique.
“This is the first of several excursions that we forecast will be undertaken in the Puerto Rico Trench and the Muertos Trough, south of the island,” he added.
“We hope to continue obtaining data that will supply models for analysis and prediction of geological activity, planetary aquatic circulation patterns and the study of marine species, among other things,” he said.
The new DMS-ECE Free-Vehicle (FV) technology is designed to serve as a means to facilitate research on the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest trough in the entire Atlantic Ocean and the seventh-deepest in the world.
“The FV is an autonomous free-descent and -ascent vehicle with a series of instruments and sensors that allow us to obtain data about vehicular interaction and autonomy in the presence of submarine currents, pressure and temperature, among other monitored parameters,” said Manuel Jimenez, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the associate dean of the Engineering Department at the University of Mayaguez.