Summer@LSTS 2020 – Session #2 with Carlos Barrera (PLOCAN)

Summer@LSTS 2020 continued on August 14th, 2020, 10:30-11:30 AM UTC, with Carlos Barrera, who presented PLOCAN: A dedicated infrastructure for autonomous ocean-vehicles base.

Unmanned autonomous marine vehicles presence is becoming nowadays normality across world oceans. Significantly more affordable than other marine observing platforms in terms of operation and maintenance, UAVs, and more specifically underwater (AUVs) and surface (ASVs) gliders, represent one of the best new technological approaches to increase ocean presence in a sustainable and cost-effective way and therefore, improve data quality and derived products in benefit to a wide range of socio-economic sectors.

Despite still futuristic look for many, gliders are consolidated as key ocean observing tool for several reasons. A noteworthy variety of commercial models and prototypes developed on the same physical principle (buoyancy) for those labeled as profilers (AUVs), and the use of “blue” energies (wind and waves) for the surface (ASVs) versions, offer all together a broad range of features and capabilities in comparative terms between them and respect other ocean observing platforms, where highlights the “low and blue-power device” concept, allowing to monitor under new spatiotemporal scales, mainly due to higher presence and endurance in terms of autonomy.

The regular use of these autonomous devices implies to dispose dedicated infrastructures (gliderport) and highly qualified technical staff (glider school) that enable such efficiency and sustainability of use. The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) represents a prime example of faithful ocean-vehicles infrastructure, providing on one side the spaces, equipment, technical staff, standardized procedures and easily accessible operational scenarios where to regularly run missions or test new technological developments (test site) in a cost-effective way. In parallel, an increasingly recognized International Glider School with the support and involvement by leading manufacturers, company providers and flag-ship projects/programs, where to train upcoming specialized glider pilots and technicians under common standards and procedures (Ocean Best Practices), represents a key part of the PLOCAN roadmap.

Carlos Barrera is the Head of the Ocean Vehicles Unit (VIMAS) at PLOCAN since 2009. He is responsible for the technical and operational tasks and time-shared desk activities related to R&D project coordination, ocean governance initiatives and services management. Carlos holds a degree in Oceanography (1998) by University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC). He has twenty five years-experience in marine technology with focus on autonomous ocean observing platforms, over a five-hundred field operations on research vessels, sixty international research projects joined, eighty international publications and two patents related to ocean observing systems.

If you need any additional information please send an email to Jose Luiz Moutinho.