Volvo Ocean Race boats gather data

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

The Volvo Ocean Race boats are to be equipped with sen­sors to gather data on cli­mate change, and the level of plas­tic pol­lu­tion in sea­wa­ter around New Zealand, as well as other parts of the globe, in a new en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tive.

The race cov­ers 38,739 nau­ti­cal miles and runs for eight months stop­ping in 11 cities, in­clud­ing Auck­land in Fe­bru­ary this month.

The boats will be equipped with a va­ri­ety of sen­sors to cap­ture en­vi­ron­men­tal data from some of the most re­mote parts of the world’s oceans. The sen­sors will gather data on tem­per­a­ture, baro­met­ric pres­sure, cur­rents and wind speed, which will help con­trib­ute to more ac­cu­rate weather fore­casts and cli­mate change mod­els used by sci­en­tists glob­ally.

The boats will also will mea­sure lev­els of salin­ity, dis­solved CO2 and al­gae in the sea wa­ter around them. Com­bined with other data on mi­croplas­tics, these mea­sure­ments will help cre­ate a more com­plete pic­ture of the scale of plas­tic pol­lu­tion and its im­pact on ocean life.

Volvo’s New Zealand gen­eral man­ager Coby Dug­gan said the Volvo Ocean Race Science Pro­gramme ini­tia­tive will help sci­en­tists an­a­lyse data that would have been lo­gis­ti­cally chal­leng­ing to col­late.

He said that by help­ing sci­en­tists col­lect data in some of the world’s most ex­treme sea con­di­tions the car-maker hopes that this will con­trib­ute to a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the health of the world’s oceans. Volvo’s

Our sup­port for the ini­tia­tive will help over­come the chal­lenges of col­lect­ing marine data on this scale – some­thing that would have been oth­er­wise al­most im­pos­si­ble,” he says.

Dug­gan says the car maker will do­nate more than USD500,000 to sup­port the pro­gramme and will also part­ner with the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NOAA), an en­vi­ron­men­tal agency which fo­cuses on the con­di­tions of the oceans and at­mos­phere.

“In ad­di­tion to our fi­nan­cial sup­port for this pro­gramme, we are al­ways look­ing at ways to in­tro­duce more en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able de­sign el­e­ments into our ve­hi­cles – and have even gone as far as mak­ing floor mats (see pic­ture) from ny­lon fish­ing nets re­claimed from the sea for one of our new mod­els,” says Dug­gan.

Ear­lier this year Volvo be­came the first ma­jor car maker to an­nounce all mod­els would fea­ture an elec­tric mo­tor from 2019, be it in the form of a mild-hy­brid, plug-in hy­brid or pure elec­tric powertrain.

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