Sustainable developments are about moving forward, not backwards, and therefore must not have a negative effect on the wildlife in that habitat. As the number of offshore tidal and wind developments increase to meet the demand for sustainable energy, it is important to understand the potential ecological impact on an area's wildlife. Tracking fish movement, and understanding fish migration patterns, is critical to assess any impact of new offshore developments.
However, tracking fish for long periods can be challenging. Autonomy is therefore emerging as an area of research for the marine sector – and deploying an uncrewed craft to do the work allows for longer and possibly more detailed tracking as well as being more economically viable. As visual tracking is difficult in marine environments, we are using an acoustic sensor array to help localise and track tagged targets. To allow us to fill the gaps in our knowledge about marine life, the data we are acquiring must be processed into a format suitable for further research.
My research goals are to provide an acoustic tracking system for autonomous vehicles, to develop a system that converts uncrewed surface vessels, such as the ARCboat, into fully autonomous vehicles, and to accurately track marine life.