OSU Ocean Robots

ROSS: the Robotic Oceanographic Surface Sampler



ROSS is a semi-autonomous research platform that was developed to gather physical properties of the upper ocean, lower atmosphere, and surrounding ice.  

This research has been funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation

ROSS is powered by a small gasoline engine, is controlled by long-range radio or Iridium satellite communications, and has solar panels to regenerate power for its navigation and science acquisition systems.  It can host a flexible suite of instruments, that include Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs), towed thermistor /CTD chains, and vertical profiling samplers.  It was originally developed to sample near the face of glaciers, but has since been used to study the upper ocean of the Bay of Bengal to understand air-sea processes that affect Monsoon cycles. 

ROSS has numerous attributes that make it an ideal complement to a manned research vessel: it can sample the upper ocean and air-sea interface in a clean and undisturbed way, something that it is challenging from a large vessel.  It also can go places too dangerous for a manned vessel, such as the terminus of a calving glacier.  And finally, it can be used as part of a team of manned and unmanned platforms to map out complicated 3D fluid flows in a way that cannot be done from a single manned research vessel. 

ROSS is independent, can sample for extended durations (24-96 h) and over large expanses (100-500 miles), and can withstand moderately high wind and sea states. It is designed to complement studies of ocean dynamics that are being simultaneously performed by manned research vessels, or from shore.