Underwater Drones Exploration

The research vessel Petrel and it’s team of underwater robots have a mission to find and document historic shipwrecks, with a particular focus on World War II.

Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, funded the dedicated research vessel and and equipped it with the state-of-the-art sub sea technology including one AUV and a ROV to allow their searches to take place more than three miles below the surface.  The Petrel’s work continues in memory of Allen since his death to carry out its research and discovery, promote education and pay tribute to those who serve and came before us.

Their latest discovery is The Kaga – a Japanese aircraft carrier that was sunk during the Battle of Midway in 1942.  It marks a first as a Japanese carrier hasn’t been discovered before and the find was the end result of the most extensive search in the Petrel’s history – covering more than 500 square nautical miles.

The AUV searched for 20 hours at a time before returning to the ship with data that could be analysed for a hint of the sunken carrier or other interesting features.  Where results were found, the ROV was then dispatched to investigate the area further and stream live imagery back to the ship for further analysis.

The Petrel’s work continues with the aim of solving as many underwater mysteries as possible applying this new technology.