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Talk-12: The Remote Explorer IV - Rex IV

Mike Defilippo, Paul Robinette, Mike Sacarny, MECHE / Sea Grant, MIT

Monitoring the current state of the ocean requires consistently measuring many variables (such as salinity, temperature, pH, etc) at many locations and at specific times. These measures inform models about general ocean health as well as models about specific marine habitats important to fishermen and ecologists. Currently, data is collected by specially-trained experts at great expense. The MIT AUV Lab has been developing the Remote Explorer IV (REx4) to explore the possibility of an autonomous robotic measuring system. REx4 is a WAM-V modified with computers and sensors to allow autonomous navigation in the Charles River, Boston Harbor, and Massachusetts Bay. It is equipped with a winch to lower a sensor payload to a specific depth for data collection. Recently, the AUV Lab has been using this platform to acquire data to understand the extent of ocean acidification near Boston. The platform has already been shown to be more consistent in lowering and raising the payload than a human. Ongoing work includes reducing the level of human supervision required for the vehicle to operate and reducing the time required to deploy the vehicle such that it can quickly respond to requests for measurements from scientists.


  • ASVs
  • Ocean Sampling