April 9, 2014

MIT Sea Grant's early technology blossoms into a tool assisting with the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Artificially intelligent submarines from Bluefin Robotics are currently assisting in the search for the Malaysian Airline jet that went missing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board. Bluefin is a 1997 commercial spinoff of MIT Sea Grant’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Lab, and we fervently hope that this technology will be of material help in recovering some clue to the jet’s tragic disappearance.

MIT Sea Grant College Program is one of 33 such programs, funded by NOAA and located in coastal states throughout the country. With the support of National Sea Grant, and funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Sea Grant AUV Lab at MIT has created prototypes of a number of autonomous vehicles for underwater exploration. Our first Odyssey class vehicle, designed in the early 1990’s, provided marine scientists with access to the ocean that was both economical and safe. Later in that decade, the Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AOSN) was initiated to enable a seamless interface between AUVs and ship-or-shore controllers for extended data collection and surveying missions.

We are proud that these technologies have been successfully commercialized and are currently available to the world through Bluefin Robotics. We applaud their efforts, and together with the rest of the global community, we hope for answers to the tragic mystery of the vanished plane.

Read more about our AUV Lab and the history of Bluefin’s origins here

WBUR News Report

Boston-Area Underwater Robot To Aid Search For Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

CBS Video News Report

One of the Navy's best tools deployed in Flight 370 search

CNN Video News Report

Underwater vehicle to be deployed in search