Coming to a seafloor near you

“In 2016, when an oil tanker off the British mainland came upon a patch of stormy weather near the Channel Islands, it dropped anchor to wait things out. Moments later, internet speeds on the UK island of Jersey plummeted.

It turns out, as the anchor hit bottom, it snagged a few network cables on the seafloor and severed them, leaving internet users across the island temporarily out of access.

Internet cables aren’t the only form of underwater wiring vulnerable to snags on the seafloor. High voltage cables supplying power from the mainland to offshore wind farms are also easy targets if they’re not adequately protected. These black, rubber-coated cables are not the most glamorous components of offshore wind—but they’re critical veins of power that wind operators, developers, and coastal communities rely on to keep this brand new source of clean energy in the U.S. going.”

Now there is new way of checking existing cables for damage as reported by Evan Lubovsky and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. It makes use of autonomous underwater vehicles!

Researchers test ocean robots to make subsea cable surveys faster and cheaper

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