BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The wind and solar powered Submaran S10 drew a lot of attention from scientists and others, including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant during a demonstration of its capabilities in St. Louis Bay, Monday. The unmanned vessel was developed by and is manufactured by the California based company Ocean Aero.
"It's the only vehicle that it can do what it does. It's a sail boat, so it has a hard wing. We can fold it down and submerge. That allows us to get out of the weather and out of the way of people. Then we can get back on the surface and do about five and a half knots. We're quick on the surface and can get out of the weather," said Eric Patten with Ocean Aero.
The vehicle collects data and observes ocean activity on and below the surface. Because it's autonomous, in other words requiring no crew, researchers think it could be a game changer in terms of gathering information and saving money.
"The average cost to take a bunch of scientists out is $10/day or more. These vessels can stay out for months. You are saving a lot of money for the cost of the vehicle. You can look at long term changes at little cost, unlike a traditional vessel," according to Kevin Martin with the USM Department of Marine Science.
The Submaran S10 can open unprecedented access to the world's oceans and provide critical information. Governor Bryant and Hancock County officials are in the preliminary stages of luring Ocean Aero to South Mississippi.
"I learned a lot about Mississippi and we're looking at doing production down here. We're talking to folks down here and are excited about doing some production," Patten said.
The plan is to work with Ocean Aero to bring the plant to Hancock County's Port Bienville.