Unmanned Systems

Unmanned systems are platform technology that operate without the need for a human pilot. Also known as drones, these systems are becoming increasingly popular choices for monitoring and surveillance of remote areas where they are a more cost effective option than manned systems. Unmanned systems for marine enforcement and surveillance are proliferating rapidly, causing costs to come down. They experience unique challenges due to communication (for underwater unmanned vehicles) and battery life in remote oceanic areas that are not experience by their terrestrial counterparts.

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Underwater Unmanned Vehicles (UUV)

Typically torpedo-shaped vessels, UUVs are equipped with a variety of sensors suitable for surveillance and oceanographic monitoring. UUVs have a pre-programmed search pattern and cannot be operated remotely. Very useful for collecting data on vessels suspected of illegal activity, UUVs are expensive platforms and run the risk of becoming entangled in natural habitats, fishing gear, or industrial complexes like oil rigs. Gliders are a type of UUVs that are distinct in that they do not rely on a propeller for propulsion but rather on buoyancy variation. They often have more endurance than most UUVs, but operators have less precision of movement or control in high currents.


The Bluefin-9 is a tiny, yet powerful underwater unmanned vehicle that is ideal for tactical operations.

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Echo Voyager

The Echo Voyager is a beast of an unmanned system at 51-feet long with survival at sea for up to six months.The system is scheduled for release by Boeing in early 2016 and is currently undergoing testing.

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Hydroswarm’s Evie, which stands for Ellipsoidal Vehicle for Inspections and Exploration, is a small, round underwater unmanned system that uses jet propulsion to travel underwater.

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The SeaExplorer is a rechargeable glider designed primarily for oceanographic exploration. A product of a collaboration between French company ACSA and several French oceanographic institutes, the SeaExplorer surfaces intermittently through up to two months-long deployments to send data and receive new mission commands via satellite.

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The Seaglider™ is an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) designed to withstand long data collection missions that can span up to 4,600 km.

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Trident is a tethered underwater drone that provides underwater imaging useful for mapping the ocean floor and providing visual access to hard-to-reach places.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

UAVs can either fly autonomously according to a pre-programmed mission or are remote controlled from a ground station. Mostly applied to military and special operations, UAVs are increasingly utilized for civil applications like surveillance and aerial imagery. UAVs are suitable for both cooperative and non-cooperative vessel detection in real-time.

Aerosonde Mark 4.7

The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 is designed specifically for maritime operations, with automatic launch and takeoff capabilities suited for confined areas such as boats at sea.

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Apid One Ranger

In production since 2014, the Apid One Ranger is a helicopter UAV that was designed by CybAero for commercial missions including monitoring infrastructure, power line inspection, wildlife conservation, and environmental research and mapping.

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AR3 Net Ray

Tekever’s AR3 Net Ray is an unmanned aerial vehicle that boasts 10 hours of endurance which makes it deal for maritime operations over vast oceans, including monitoring and tracking illegal fishing activities.

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Falcon is a fixed-wing, multi-mission UAV that can perform a number of surveillance and law enforcement functions.

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Falcon Hover

Falcon Hover is a multi-copter UAV that, like all multi-copter UAVs, can access areas difficult to reach with long fixed-wing UAVs.

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Designed specifically to operate over oceans, the Flexrotor, is a vertically launched drone that can remain in the air for almost two days.

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The HBS FX61 is a medium range video and mapping UAV that can be dismantled into three small parts and carried in a carrying case.

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HBS Skywalker

The HBS Skywalker is a long range, fixed wing UAV that, like other UAVs designed by Hornbills Survey, was designed for conservation as a primary purposed and has been used to map orangutan and crocodile nests in Indonesia.

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HBS T680

The HBS T680 is a video and mapping hexacopter UAV that is particularly useful for areas that are not conducive for fixed-wing UAV take off and landing.

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Loon Copter

The Loon Copter won the UAE 'Drones for Good' 2016 competition for a US $1 million prize and is in the development stages. The versatility of this drone makes it a great choice for monitoring MPAs.

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RQ-20A Puma All Environment

The RQ-20A Puma All Environment (Puma AE) is a small, hand launched AUV designed for land and maritime operations.

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S-100 Camcopter

Shiebel’s S-100 Camcopter is an unmanned aerial vehicle that is fully marinised for optimal use at sea and boasts the capacity to transmit imagery in real time from high definition payload sensors.

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Boeing Insitu's ScanEagle is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance fixed wing UAV that has been deployed in maritime environments since 2005 for both military and civilian missions. It is a great option for MPA monitoring and surveillance operations.

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Seeker 200 Unmanned Aerial System

South African Denel Dynamics’ Seeker 200 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is a complete package that consists of 4-6 unmanned aerial vehicles, a tactical ground station, field support equipment and payloads.

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The T-20 is a part of Arcturus' T-Series catapult launch UAVs.

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V-200 Skeldar

The V-200 Skeldar is an unmanned aerial vehicle that was designed to replace conventional helicopters used by the military for surveillance missions.

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Wadi Drone

The Wadi Drone is a fixed wing UAV that can carry a small communications payload to receive information from stationary scientific measurement devices - notably, camera traps.

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Wasp AE Micro Air Vehicle

The Wasp AE Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) is a micro-sized unmanned aerial vehicle equipped well-suited for shorter range surveillance and designed with maritime operations such as MPA surveillance and protection in mind.

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Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV)

USVs operate on the surface of the water for extended periods of time, and are ideal for a diverse set of military and conservation applications including coastal surveillance, port security, hydrography and oceanography. USVs are capable of carrying a variety of payloads and sensors, depending on mission need, and are typically less expensive than AUVs or UAVs.


Saildrone, funded in part by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, is an unmanned surface vessel that is powered by solar and wind energy.

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Wave Glider

The Wave Glider by Liquid Robotics is a hybrid wave and solar powered unmanned surface vehicle designed to help protect exclusive economic zones and marine protected areas from illegal fishing as well as to perform environmental science research and monitoring – all while powered only by mother nature.

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