Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Scientists and technologists from Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) have for decades played an integral role in the development and implementation of innovative technologies, delivering at the forefront of scientific exploration. Digital innovation is core to PML’s future strategy and marine autonomous systems will be a key enabler to delivering future marine scientific observations. PML has invested heavily over the past few years in its marine autonomous capability and now seeks additional personnel to deliver its aspirations of a fully integrated autonomous coastal observing system. PML provides marine autonomy expertise and leadership across numerous regional and national bodies, as well as involvement in major programs to provide innovation support to both industry and academia. In recognition of this leading expertise PML in collaboration with its Marine Research Plymouth partners has launched the National Centre for Coastal Autonomy (NCCA). The NCCA was officially launched by HRH Princess Anne in October 2022. The vision for the NCCA is to deliver: The UK’s first fully integrated net zero autonomous observing and monitoring network, delivering cutting edge science to advance our understanding of the dynamic coastal seas. The NCCA will deliver world-leading capability in scientific coastal autonomy combining state-of-the-art surface autonomous vessels, sub-surface coastal platforms and sophisticated scientific buoys integrated on a unique high-speed marine communications network to deliver an autonomous coastal observing system capable of driving enhanced understanding of the marine environment. The NCCA partnership will deliver high resolution data and policy relevant science to enable good stewardship of the marine environment. The NCCA will also deliver a platform for training and developing the next generation of scientists and technologists, equipping them with the skills required to embrace the latest observing capabilities. With decades of experience in working with industrial partners to develop the next generation of platforms and sensors for the marine industry, PML launched Smart Sound Plymouth in 2015. Smart Sound Plymouth is firmly established as the UK’s marine robotics platform for proving, validating, and demonstrating advanced marine autonomy, technology, and digitalization. Smart Sound Plymouth is the UK’s premier proving area for designing, testing, and developing cutting edge products and services for the marine sector. This multi-million-pound development provides access to first class off and onshore facilities plus award winning marine science and technology expertise. Smart Sound Plymouth is working with the National Physical Laboratory and Lloyds Register to develop a national Maritime Assured Autonomy Testbed (MAAT) and partnering with the MCA on a BEIS funded project to develop a Research and Development legislative framework for the proving and testing of marine autonomous systems in UK water. Successful candidates will have a fantastic opportunity to work on some of the most advanced autonomous platforms currently available and through the NCCA and Smart Sound Plymouth working with industry leaders across the UK and internationally to develop the next generation of technologies. Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) Operations at Sea (OS) Manager, Marine Robotics Technologist & Junior Technologist will be part of the team responsible for the existing platforms and assets held at PML under the criteria as listed below: • Large Scientific Data Buoys: Working to deploy and maintain these state-of-the-art platforms and partnering with third parties to integrate additional sensors and payloads, including PML science staff. Also, including technology enhancement and platform development. • Automated, in situ Plankton Imaging and Classification System (APICS) Buoy: The team will be responsible for the development and deployment of this new and highly novel technology, which will include advanced payload control, communications, and innovative power systems. • PML Pioneer: PML’s 5m AutoNaut. A remotely operated vessel that is packed with the latest scientific sensors, which will deliver a game-changing capability to PML’s science. The Operations at Sea Manager will be responsible for developing the Safe Working Practices, Risk Assessments and dealing with the regulatory bodies to ensure compliant deployments of the vessel. The team will work to optimise the sensor payload and the deployment of the vessel, including the resourcing of the remote operations centre at PML. • EcoSub Robotics Fleet: As above the Operations at Sea Manager will be responsible for ensuring that PML’s obligations to health and safety are met. The team will work to develop this sub-surface capability. • Communications system: The National Centre for Coastal Autonomy (NCCA) will operate a highly sophisticated fully connected environment comprising a private 4G/5G inshore network, offshore WaveRelay mesh network and a sub-surface Sonardyne communications and navigation network. The team will work with technical teams from our NCCA partner (UoP) to deploy, maintain and facilitate the use of this network. • Plymouth Quest and PML Explorer: Working with the existing Ships’ Manager and crew to deliver safe and efficient crewed working platforms to deliver PML’s local at-sea science activities, including the deployment of autonomy. • Rosette System: PML currently owns two vessel mounted rosette systems, which are fundamental to our ability to sample and monitor the waters off Plymouth. The team will be responsible for the maintenance of these systems and continued reliable performance. This includes ensuring the reliable performance of the hardware installed on the Plymouth Quest. • Underway System: The Plymouth Quest has a sophisticated underway sensing capability, and the team will be responsible for the continued development and ongoing maintenance of this system. • Smart Sound Workshop: The workshop facilities are key to delivering the above capability and the ongoing development and maintenance of this facility is an important part of the team’s role. A major expansion of this facility will commence in September, which will include a new 2m deep test tank and the installation of a Remote Operations Centre (ROC). • In addition to the above, the team will play a key role in supporting PML Applications Ltd, PML’s commercial subsidiary, through its Centre for Coastal Technologies, and also PML science staff on project delivery.