Australian New Space start-up Myriota, which focuses on providing satellite connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT), is partnering with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to deploy marine buoys called drifters that are fitted with satellite-connected IoT sensors in order to track currents, sea surface water temperature, and barometric pressure of the ocean in real-time.
Myriota have said the custom-built sensors can record about 160 bytes of data every day, to include the location of the drifters. The data will then sent by Myriota LEO satellites to the AIMS data centre.
Myriota chief executive officer and co-founder Dr. Alex Grant said that AIMS are the first to use the sensors for oceanographic tracking and monitoring.
Myriota, headquartered on the outskirts of Adelaide in South Australia, has previously partnered with the University of New England in the United States, and the Australia and New Zealand Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Spatial Information, to conduct tests of low-cost livestock water tank-level monitoring.
“Previously, oceanographic drifter satellite communications for organisations like AIMS have been cost prohibitive, but our Direct to Orbit technology has allowed AIMS to trial robust and cost effective tracking and data collection,” Grant said.
The technology development team leader at AIMS, Melanie Olsen, added that the oceanographic sensors demonstrated a cost-effective method for obtaining data about the oceans.
“Our drifters are now fitted with the next generation of satellite technology, so they can beam data from remote Australian waters back to base in near-real time,” Olsen said.
“The low-cost drifters will enable us to scale up projects on demand, be sustainable and flexible. Because they connect to LEO satellites, they avoid issues like coverage dropouts and connectivity issues that come from using traditional mobile phone networks,” she added.
These drifting IoT sensors will allow AIMS to collect oceanographic data every hour from any location and so provide researchers with information critical to understanding the behaviour and changes in the oceans.
AIMS’ Melanie Olsen said that the organisation is excited to use innovative IoT technology in order to better connect, collect, and exchange oceanographic data.
“Data is an essential tool if we are to understand how our oceans behave. We need to bring every tool to bear if we are to protect one of our nation’s most precious natural assets, our marine environment,” Olsen said.
Myriota pioneered the Global Sensor Network at the University of South Australia (UniSA), and AIMS began testing the IoT technology on board its research vessel ‘Cape Ferguson’ in early 2017.