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Dynamics of a wave propelled surface vessel

Project Description

Project Rationale:
This project aims to establish the fundamental principles of a novel, submerged tandem flapping foil mechanism to convert ocean wave energy directly into propulsion for ASVs. ASVs have proven effective as ocean observing platforms for maritime operations. Despite the potential impact for sustained long-term ocean monitoring, current autonomous platforms are limited in their operation requiring periodic recharging (and redeployment) from a support vessel. With scientific ship time measured in the tens of thousands GBP per day, operating costs around $5M p.a. (maintenance and crew) and research vessel costs between $50-200M, this research will lead to significant cost savings and measurements on ever larger temporal and spatial scales - a step change in maritime robotic capability. This research aligns with 1) the NERC strategic focus on the development of remote observation platforms, moving systematic measurement of the oceans away from ships and onto a network of autonomous platforms, and 2) the EPSRC remit on the novel physical design and development of robotic systems robotics including their underpinning control mechanisms and their use in extreme and challenging environments. Furthermore, the work has the potential to be scaled and applied to larger vessels, enabling significant fuel savings and reductions in ship CO2 emissions.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


[1] Bowker, J.A., Townsend, N.C., Tan, M. and Shenoi, R.A., 2016, September. Experimental analysis of submerged flapping foils; implications for autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs). In OCEANS 2016 MTS/IEEE Monterey (pp. 1-10). IEEE.

[2] Bowker, J.A., Townsend, N.C., Tan, M. and Shenoi, R.A., 2015, May. Experimental study of a wave energy scavenging system onboard autonomous surface vessels (ASVs). In OCEANS 2015-Genova (pp. 1-9). IEEE.

How good is research at University of Southampton in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 192.23

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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