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An underwater "docking station"

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are robot submarines that are programmed at the surface, then released to follow a specific path underwater, collecting data as they go. MBARI's scientists use AUVs to study ocean currents, detect blooms of marine algae, and map the seafloor. However, MBARI's current generation of AUVs can only run for 12 to 24 hours before they must return to the surface so that their batteries can be recharged. One possible solution to this problem is to build an underwater "docking station," where the AUV can return to charge its batteries and send its data back to shore. This photograph shows a bright yellow AUV approaching part of a prototype docking station in the MBARI test tank.

Note: This image may not be copied, reprinted, or used without explicit permission from MBARI.

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