Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems

Marine Autonomous Robotic Systems

Oceanographers have driven the widespread use and acceptance of robotic and autonomous systems in the marine environment. The use of these platforms has transformed our ability to monitor the oceans by enabling autonomous, adaptive and persistent observations from the surface to the deepest depths and furthest reaches of the oceans.

To enable the scientific community to have broad access to Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS) platforms, sensors and networks the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) supports the Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) fleet at the National Oceanography Centre. The fleet is made available to NERC-funded scientists to support world class oceanography.

The MARS fleet is one of the largest and most advanced in the world, having benefited from a £10 million investment as part of the UK Government's 'Eight Great Technologies' initiative, and £16 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Key to its success are the 45 engineers and technologists that develop, maintain, and operate the vehicles on behalf of the UK science community.

The fleet includes:

We regularly support operations the length of the Atlantic as well as further afield. You can track our vehicles on live missions at To continue to advance the capabilities of the fleet our engineers also develop new platforms and infrastructure to enable new science capabilities.

The equipment within the MARS fleet forms part of the National Marine Equipment Pool (NMEP) and is available for use by the marine science community.  Please discuss your requirements with the relevant engineering manager listed below.  

Equipment within the National Marine Equipment Pool is available for use by the marine science community. Contact us for more information or to arrange commercial hire of our instruments and vehicles.

Marine Facilities Planning »

The AUV Operations team maintains and operates the high powered Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) within the NMEP . Our engineers work closely with scientists to support their scientific goals and expeditions.

The Glider team supports deployments of the Underwater Gliders  and Unmanned Surface Vehicles in the NMEP. Experts in deployment and operation of marine robots over the horizon, the glider team routinely support science campaigns across the globe.

The ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) team operate the Isis and Hybis ROVs. The team will pilot these platforms remotely from the ship which allows scientists to watch live as the vehicles gather samples, photos and video footage.

Experts in the development of novel Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems for ocean science, oil and gas, and deep sea mining. The group develops new platforms and technologies to extend the capabilities of the MARS fleet. We are responsible for the development of the new AUV platforms Autosub Long Range (ALR1500) and Autosub2KUI.

Please contact us to discuss future requirements.


NOC projects associated with this science area.

  •  Oceanids

    Oceanids will see new and innovative autonomous vehicles being developed at the NOC that will push the boundaries of how we explore our oceans. With capabilities allowing us to reach new depths, travel under ice, and collect data in some of the most environmentally hostile environments, autonomous vehicles are the future of marine science. visit project website


    MASSMO is a pioneering multi-partner series of trials and demonstrator missions that aim to explore the UK seas using a fleet of innovative marine robots. visit project website

  •  Bridges

    The BRIDGES project (Bringing together Industry for the Development of Glider Environment) aims to develop two new deep-sea autonomous gliders and demonstrate their capabilities at sea. visit project website

  •  RAPID

    The RAPID-AMOC programme (2014-2020) is a continuation of the two previous programmes to study the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). visit project website